NASA's pretty proud of its Perseverance rover on Mars and that's understandable.
After all, it was just over two weeks ago that the car-sized rover nailed its landing on the Red Planet to begin a years-long mission searching for signs of ancient life. Perseverance has been busy since its Feb. 18 landing and NASA will show off just how busy in a press teleconference today (March 5).
Billed as a chance to learn about Perseverance's "firsts" on Mars, NASA's rover update will begin at 3:30 p.m. EST (2030 GMT). You'll be able to follow it live here and on Space.com's homepage, courtesy of NASA TV, or directly from NASA's website here (opens in new tab). Visuals for the teleconference will stream live on NASA's JPL YouTube feed here (opens in new tab).
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"Since NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover touched down at Jezero Crater Feb. 18, mission controllers have made substantial progress as they prepare the rover for the unpaved road ahead," NASA officials wrote in an update.
"Since landing, NASA’s largest, most sophisticated Mars rover yet has gone through checks on every system and subsystem and sent back thousands of images from Jezero Crater," agency officials added. "These checks will continue in the coming days, and the rover will make its first drives."
Over the last two weeks, Perseverance has raised its camera mast and switched electronic eyes that have captured stunning views of the rover's Jezero Crater landing site. This week, the rover flexed its robotic arm for the first time and begun testing its wheels for its upcoming first drive.
The nuclear-powered Perseverance rover is designed to search for any clues that Jezero Crater could have supported life in the ancient past. It will also collect Mars rock samples for a future mission to retrieve and deploy the first helicopter to visit another world — a tiny drone called Ingenuity — as it continues its mission.
Perseverance's Mars mission is expected to last about one Martian year, which is 686 days (or nearly two Earth years). It is possible that Perseverance could last much longer. NASA's Curiosity rover, on which Perseverance's design was based, landed on Mars in 2012 for its own two-year mission and is still going strong more than eight years later.
Email Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Instagram.