Mars 2020 Perseverance
Location where Perseverance will land, with the locations of other successful NASA Mars landings. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech | Full Image and Caption
Perseverance will land in Jezero Crater, located on the western edge of Isidis Planitia, a giant impact basin just north of the Martian equator at about 18 degrees north latitude, 77 degrees longitude. Perseverance's core goal is astrobiological – to seek signs of ancient microbial life – and the rover will be landing in a place with high potential for finding these signs. Western Isidis presents some of the oldest and most scientifically interesting landscapes Mars has to offer. Mission scientists believe the 28-mile-wide (45-kilometer) crater was home to a lake about 3.5 billion years ago – the word "Jezero" in several slavic languages means "lake" – as well as to an ancient river delta. Together, they could have collected and preserved ancient organic molecules and other potential signs of microbial life from the water and sediments that flowed into the crater billions of years ago.
Illustration of a wet Jezero Crater in the ancient past. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech | Full image and caption
Jezero Crater’s ancient lake-delta system offers many promising sampling targets. Parts of Jezero may be especially rich in carbonates, minerals that, on Earth, can preserve fossilized signs of ancient life and can be associated with biological processes. And new landing technologies will allow Perseverance to touch down even closer to the most promising locations than any Mars mission before it.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech | Full image and caption
For more, visit the mission’s landing site page.