Mars rover landing: NASA’s Perseverance starts its descent

Mars rover landing: NASA’s Perseverance starts its descent

Perseverance, NASA’s most cutting-edge robotic explorer to date, successfully landed on Mars on Thursday following a harrowing self-guided descent dubbed the “seven minutes of terror.”

NASA staffers clapped and cheered as they announced at around 3:55 p.m. that the SUV-sized rover had completed its 293 million mile, seven-month journey to the Red Planet.

The spacecraft streaked into the Martian atmosphere at around 12,000 miles per hour beginning at 3:48 p.m.

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It then executed a series of complex, self-guided maneuvers to slow its descent and land successfully.

NASA engineers half-jokingly refer to the nail-biting period from when the rover enters the atmosphere to when it lands as the “seven minutes of terror.”

The spacecraft landed in the Jezero Crater area of the Red Planet, an ancient lake bed where scientists hope to find signs of fossilized life.

Because it takes 11 minutes for radio waves to travel one way between Mars and Earth, the rover will have already reached the

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