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Perseverance Lands

February 18, 2021

perseverance touching down

Perseverance on Mars

Photo by NASA

Washington DC ---


NASA’s 2.5 hour live stream of their rover landing on Mars featured a successful “seven minutes of terror.”


After nearly seven months in orbit, NASA’s rover Perseverance landed on Mars in the Jezero Crater (figure one). NASA live streamed the event on YouTube. The video now has over 20 million views. The most crucial part of the stream is what’s known as “the seven minutes of terror.”

“The seven minutes of terror” refers to the entry, descent, and landing phases of a mission on Mars. It takes the signal of the Rover 14 minutes to travel back to Earth from Mars. The seven minutes of terror are the most crucial minutes within a mission. This is the time where the most mistakes can be made. NASA engineer Tom Rivelini said, “if any one thing doesn’t work just right it’s game over.”

The livestream was filled with conversations throughout. However, during these seven minutes everyone was completely silent besides NASA’s Guidance and Control Operations leader Swati Mohan. Mohan was tasked with reporting for Perseverance. At 3:59 p.m. Mohan reported that Perseverance had entered the atmosphere. The seven minutes began. At 3:56 pm Mohan said “touchdown confirmed, Perseverance safely on the surface of mars and ready to begin seeking the sands of past life.” The room erupted with applause.


NASA’s Perseverance successfully landed on Mars on February 18. Perseverance is NASA’s fifth Rover on Mars (figure two). Perseverance weighs 2,260 lbs. and is NASA’s heaviest rover yet. The main goal of Perseverance is to look for signs of ancient life while collecting rocks and regolith (broken rocks and soil).


Figure One

The Jezero Crater on Mars


Figure Two

Perseverance on Mars

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