For Scientists: Landing Site Selection

At the end of the fourth landing site workshop in October 2018, the science community voted to select Jezero Crater as the landing site for the Mars 2020 mission. The Perseverance rover is set to land there on Feb. 18, 2021.

At Jezero Crater, Perseverance’s mission is to explore if Jezero was habitable, seek signs of past life, fill a returnable cache with the most compelling samples, take the first steps towards in situ resource utilization on Mars, and demonstrate technology needed for the future human and robotic exploration of Mars.

A global map of rusty, reddish Mars, with labels of eight potential landing sites identified in the mid-latitudes.
Landing Site Finalists: This map of the Red Planet highlights the top eight candidates for Perseverance‚Äôs landing site. Jezero Crater was ultimately selected as the final choice. Full image and caption ›

The Mars 2020 rover mission had detailed science criteria for evaluating potential landing sites through the various landing site selection workshops. These considered specific engineering constraints, possible enhanced entry, descent and landing (EDL) capabilities, planetary protection guidelines, and information needed to define a landing site for the workshop and subsequent imaging.

Summary of Landing Site Workshops

Workshop Date Results
First Landing Site Workshop May 14-16, 2014 Initial rankings for about 30 candidate sites
Second Landing Site Workshop Aug. 4-6, 2015 Top eight sites advanced
Third Landing Site Workshop Feb. 8-10, 2017 Top three sites advanced
Fourth Landing Site Workshop Oct. 16-18, 2019 Final recommendations made to NASA