NASA's Perseverance rover just landed on Mars after leaving Earth more than six months ago.
Now that the rover is on the Red Planet, the work begins.
Here's what it will do:
- The rover will explore Jezero Crater: The crater is the site of an ancient lake that existed 3.9 billion years ago. The rover will search for microfossils in the rocks and soil there.
- It will relay images from Mars: Perseverance will capture images of its surroundings and send them back, unfold its "head" and take more pictures while going through some health checkups with engineers. Teams on Earth will go through a month of inspections, software downloads and preparations for roving.
- The rover will drop a helicopter on Mars: Over a process that takes about 10 days, the rover will drop a helicopter, called Ingenuity, on the surface of Mars and roll away from it. The little 4-pound helicopter will have to survive frigid nights, keep itself warm and charge itself using solar panels. Then, it will be ready for its first flight, which will last about 20 seconds.
- It will search for evidence of ancient life: Perseverance will search for evidence of ancient life and study Mars' climate and geology and collect samples that will eventually be returned to Earth by the 2030s.
- Perseverance will record sound: It will be the first recordings of sound on the Red Planet.