Exploring Majestic Jezero Crater (Illustration)
An illustration of NASA's Perseverance rover exploring inside Mars' Jezero Crater. The 28-mile-wide (45-kilometer-wide) crater is located on the western edge of a flat plain called Isidis Planitia, which lies just north of the Martian equator. NASA believes the ancient lake-delta system there is the best place for Perseverance, in its hunt for signs of past microscopic life, to find and collect promising rock and regolith (broken rock and dust) samples for a possible future return to Earth.
A key objective for Perseverance's mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet's geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith.
Subsequent missions, currently under consideration by NASA in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these cached samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California built and manages operations of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover for NASA.
For more information about the mission, go to https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/.