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. Visuals for the teleconference will stream live on NASA's JPL YouTube feed here.
Join our forums here to discuss the Perseverance Mars rover landing. What do you hope finds?
"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 email@example.com or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Instagram.
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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.