Frequently Asked Questions

Overview

Why is the rover called Perseverance?

A seventh-grade student, Alexander Mather, won a nationwide essay contest to name the rover.

Perseverance is the latest in a long line of Red Planet rovers to be named by school-age children, from Sojourner in 1997 to the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, which landed on Mars in 2004, to Curiosity, which has been exploring Mars since 2012.

What will Perseverance do?

Perseverance will study Mars' habitability, seek signs of past microbial life, collect and store samples of selected rock and soil, and prepare for future human missions.

How long is the Mars 2020 mission?

At least one Mars year (about 687 Earth days).

How is the Mars 2020 mission different from other missions?

The Perseverance rover pioneers a drill that can collect core samples of the most promising rocks and soils, and set them aside in a "cache" on the surface of Mars. A future mission could potentially return these samples to Earth.

Is there a helicopter going to Mars on Perseverance?

Yes. The Mars helicopter rides to Mars attached to the belly of the rover. The helicopter is a technology demonstration to test the first powered flight on Mars.

Launch

When did Perseverance launch?

Perseverance launched on July 30, 2020 at 4:50 a.m. PDT / 7:50 a.m. EDT.

What launch vehicle did the spacecraft use?

Perseverance rode atop an Atlas V-541 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Cruise

How can I follow Perseverance's journey to Mars?

You can track the spacecraft's flight on the cruise page.

How long is the trip to Mars?

The trip to Mars takes about seven months. Perseverance will land on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. For details, visit the cruise section.

How does Perseverance aim toward the right landing spot?

A few trajectory, or flight path, corrections are needed. During the cruise phase, engineers have various opportunities to adjust the flight path. During these trajectory correction maneuvers, or TCMs, engineers calculate the spacecraft’s location and command eight thrusters on the cruise stage to fire for the specific amount of time needed to tweak the path. For more information, visit "Fine-Tuning the Flight Path to Mars."

Landing

Where will Perseverance land?

The rover will land in Jezero Crater, an ancient river delta. Jezero has rocks and minerals that could only form in water.

How does Perseverance land on Mars?

Perseverance follows an entry, descent, and landing (EDL) process similar to that used by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover when it landed in 2012. You can see an illustration of the process on the EDL section.

Images

Where can I see Perseverance images?

You can browse the images in our Image Gallery.

News

Where can I get Perseverance news?

You can find the latest news releases in our News section. Facts sheets, media contacts, etc. are found in the Newsroom, and you can sign up for our Mars newsletter.

Science

How many instruments are on Perseverance?

Perseverance has seven instruments, two microphones and 23 cameras in total.

How will Perseverance communicate with Earth?

The rover has three Communications antennas. It primarily uses the High-Grain Antenna to send data directly to Earth.

Rover

What is the power source on the Perseverance rover?

A Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator provides electrical power to the rover. It converts heat from the natural radioactive decay of plutonium into electricity.

How much does Perseverance weigh?

The rover weighs 2,260 pounds (1,025 kilograms), less than a compact car.

How big is Perseverance?

Perseverance is about 10 feet long (not including the arm), 9 feet wide, and 7 feet tall (about 3 meters long, 2.7 meters wide, and 2.2 meters tall).

Where can I see a list of names being sent on Mars2020/Perseverance?

We do not publish the final list of names. See our most frequently asked questions about the Send Your Name to Mars campaign.

How do I know if my name is on Perseverance?

If you have a boarding pass, your name is onboard the Perseverance rover.

Where can I see pictures of the chips aboard Mars 2020/Perseverance?

The three name chips are located on the “aft” crossbeam, on top of the rover deck. They are surrounded by artwork depicting Earth and Mars joined by the star that gives light to both. A wide shot view also contains the plate with the chips here.

See All “Send Your Name to Mars” FAQs