Landing on Mars

4 mins read

The FINANCIAL — On Feb. 18, 2021, NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover makes its final descent to the Red Planet. Here are some of the ways you can take part in this landing.

Now through February 2021:

  • Get Your Landing Resources
    Posters, stickers, fact sheets, mission patches and more.
  • Ways To Participate
    Try the Photo Booth, Send Your Name on the next mission to Mars, and check out other interactive experiences.
  • Watch Online
    Our quick guide to the TV programs coming up you can watch online.
  • Mission to Mars Student Challenge
    Get Mars-related webcasts for learners of all ages, along with lessons and activities for students.
  • Register for a Virtual Landing Event
    Get notifications about landing opportunities, programming, and other mission information, plus a landing stamp for your virtual passport.
  • Virtual NASA Social
    Connect online with other space enthusiasts, ask questions and get answers from NASA experts. Get a special badge to share online or print at home.

On Landing Day, Feb. 18, 2021:

  • Tune in to Watch Live
    The NASA TV broadcast from Mission Control starts at 11:15 a.m. PST/2:15 p.m. EST.

After Landing:

  • Explore Mars with Perseverance
    As the rover begins its mission at Jezero Crater, visit the mission website for the latest news and images every day.

The Perseverance Rover Landing

Perseverance will touch down on Mars on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, at approximately 12:55 p.m. PST (3:55 p.m. EST). During landing, the rover plunges through the thin Martian atmosphere, with the heat shield first, at a speed of over 12,000 mph (about 20,000 kph). A parachute and powered descent slow the rover down to about 2 mph (three-fourths of a meter per second). A large sky crane then lowers the rover on three bridle cords to land softly on six wheels. Landing on Mars is hard. Read all about the rover’s harrowing entry, descent and landing.

Landing at Jezero Crater

The rover’s new home is Jezero Crater, a large impact crater about 28 miles wide (45 kilometers wide) just north of the Martian equator. Jezero once contained a lake, which scientists think is one of the most ideal places to find evidence of ancient microbial life. If life exists anywhere else in our solar system, chances are, it might be at Jezero Crater. The main question Perseverance is trying to answer is: Was there ever ancient life on Mars? To answer that question, the rover will collect and store the most compelling rock and soil samples for return to Earth by a future mission. Once on Earth, scientists can use a variety of sophisticated instruments, many of them too large and bulky to transport to Mars, to help answer this question.

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Landing on Mars is Hard

Landing on Mars is challenging. Only about 40 percent of the missions ever sent to Mars – by any space agency – have been successful. Perseverance is only the fifth NASA rover to attempt landing on Mars. Will you be watching? Tune in to our Watch Online page.

Upcoming Events

Date Title Channel Can I ask questions?
Feb. 5, 2021
8 a.m. PST /
11 a.m. EST
Spanish: Live Chat with Fernando Abilleira of the Mars 2020 Team Watch on YouTube
NASA en Español

Ask questions via @NASA_Es using #preguntaNASA
Feb. 16, 2021
10 a.m. PST /
1 p.m. EST
News Briefing: Mission Overview and Technology Watch on YouTube
NASA JPL

via @NASA
using #CountdownToMars
Feb. 16, 2021
11:45 a.m. PST /
2:45 p.m. EST
News Briefing: Science Overview Watch on YouTube
NASA JPL

via @NASA
using #CountdownToMars
Feb. 16, 2021
8:30 a.m. PST /
11:30 a.m. EST
High School Students – Countdown to Landing Watch on YouTube
NASAJPL Edu

Register to ask questions
Feb. 16, 2021
11:30 a.m. PST /
2:30 p.m. EST
Middle School Students – Countdown to Landing Watch on YouTube
NASAJPL Edu

Register to ask questions
Feb. 17, 2021
9:30 a.m. PST /
12:30 p.m. EST
Elementary School Students – Countdown to Landing Watch on YouTube
NASAJPL Edu

Register to ask questions
Feb. 17, 2021
10 a.m. PST /
1 p.m. EST
News Briefing: Mission Status and What You’ll See Tomorrow Watch on YouTube
NASA JPL

via @NASA
using #CountdownToMars
Feb. 17, 2021
12 p.m. PST /
3 p.m. EST
News Briefing: Proof of Ancient Life and Mars Sample Return Watch on YouTube
NASA JPL

via @NASA
using #CountdownToMars
Feb. 18, 2021
9:30 a.m. PST /
12:30 p.m. EST
Landing Day Live Stream for Students Watch on YouTube
NASAJPL Edu

Register to ask questions
Feb. 18, 2021
11:15 a.m. PST /
2:15 p.m. EST
LIVE Landing Broadcast: Perseverance Rover Lands on Mars Watch on YouTube
NASA

Spanish-language show
NASA


via @NASA
using #CountdownToMars
Feb. 18, 2021
~2:30 p.m. PST /
5:30 p.m. EST
Post-Landing News Briefing Watch on YouTube
NASA JPL

via @NASA
using #CountdownToMars
Feb. 19, 2021
10 a.m. PST /
1 p.m. EST
News Briefing: Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Update Watch on YouTube
NASA JPL

via @NASA
using #CountdownToMars
Feb. 22, 2021
11 a.m. PST /
2 p.m. EST
News Briefing: Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Update Watch on YouTube
NASA JPL

via @NASA
using #CountdownToMars
Archived On-Demand Recordings
Feb. 2, 2021 Ask an Astrobiologist: Mars 2020 panel episode Replay on Facebook
NASA Astrobio
Jan. 27, 2021 News Briefing: Preview to Mars Landing
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
Lori Glaze, director, Planetary Science Division, NASA Headquarters
Matt Wallace, Mars 2020 deputy project manager, JPL
Allen Chen, Mars 2020 entry, descent, and landing lead, JPL
Ken Farley, Mars 2020 project scientist, Caltech
Briony Horgan, Mars 2020 science team member, Purdue University
Replay on YouTube
NASA
Jan. 14, 2021 Introducing the Mission to Mars Student Challenge
Replay on YouTube
NASAJPL Edu
Oct. 22, 2020 Behind the Spacecraft — Meet NASA’s Eric Aguilar
Eric Aguilar, Mars 2020 Technical Group Supervisor
Replay on YouTube
NASA JPL
Sept. 15, 2020 Behind the Spacecraft — Meet NASA’s Diana Trujillo
Diana Trujillo, Mars 2020 Phase Lead, Robotic Arm Science
Replay on YouTube
NASA JPL
Aug. 27, 2020 Behind the Spacecraft — Meet NASA’s Michelle Tomey Colizzi
Michelle Tomey Colizzi, Mars 2020 Aeroshell Vehicle Lead
Replay on YouTube
NASA JPL

*Schedule is preliminary and subject to changes. All news briefings will be broadcast and streamed on NASA TV and this page.

Launch Events: Archived On-Demand Recordings ›

For Media

News briefings and launch commentary will be streamed on NASA TV, NASA.gov/live, YouTube.com/NASAJPL and Ustream.tv/NASAJPL. On-demand recordings will also be available on the YouTube and Ustream pages after the live events have finished.

NASA TV channels are digital C-band signals carried by QPSK/DVB-S modulation on satellite Galaxy-13, transponder 11, at 127 degrees west longitude, with a downlink frequency of 3920 MHz, vertical polarization, data rate of 38.80 MHz, symbol rate of 28.0681 Mbps and 3/4 FEC. A Digital Video Broadcast-compliant Integrated Receiver Decoder is needed for reception.

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