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Why Did NASA Choose Jezero Crater As Landing Site On Mars For Perseverance Rover?

Nasa has chosen Jezero Crater, a geologically rich terrain, as the landing site for its Mars 2020 rover mission.
Nasa has chosen Jezero Crater, a geologically rich terrain, as the landing site for its Mars 2020 rover mission.

The Perseverance rover, which carried Ingenuity nearly 300 million miles to Mars, watched and filmed from a nearby overlook, producing images like the above.NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter made spaceflight history when it lifted off from the Martian surface for the first time on Monday morning.

NASA's Perseverance rover show the Ingenuity helicopter
NASA’s Perseverance rover show the Ingenuity helicopter

But there is one question that everyone must be thinking about, Why Nasa chose it as the landing site for the Perseverance rover? Let us discuss this in detail,

The Perseverance rover has attempted to touch down in the most challenging terrain on Mars ever targeted by the US space agency.NASA has successfully landed rovers on the Martian surface in the past but Perseverance rover has its own special set of challenges due to the choice of the landing site.

Nasa has chosen Jezero Crater, a geologically rich terrain, as the landing site for its Mars 2020 rover mission.
Nasa has chosen Jezero Crater, a geologically rich terrain, as the landing site for its Mars 2020 rover mission.

The rover will attempt to touch down in the most challenging terrain on Mars ever targeted – Jezero Crater. The science team of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration identified Jezero Crater as an ancient lakebed, formed billions of years ago. According to Nasa’s Mars exploration program, the crater was filled with water to form a deep lake about the same size as Lake Tahoe, a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains of the United States. As the climate of Mars changed, Lake Jezero dried up and surface water disappeared from the planet.

While it’s too cold and dry for life to exist today on the Martian surface, the goal of Mars 2020 is to learn whether life ever existed on the Red planet. Perseverance rover will be used to explore the rocks of the ancient lake bed and the ongoing mission is the first leg of a relay race to return samples from Mars.

“The science team identified Jezero Crater as basically an ancient lakebed. And one of the most promising places to look for evidence of ancient microbial life and to collect samples for future return to Earth. The problem is it’s a much more hazardous place to land,” Matt Smith, Mars 2020 flight director of cruise operations, said in a video.

Now, complex landing sequence like Jezero Crater has only been possible because of new landing technologies known as Range Trigger and Terrain-Relative Navigation. The mission is to gather special rocks, known to preserve signs of life over time, that could be returned to Earth by a future Nasa mission.

Written by Kane Dan

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