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NASA’s Perseverance Rover Marks 1,000 Martian Days of Mission

NASA’s Perseverance rover has completed 1,000 Martian days of operations on the Red Planet, according to the agency.

A Martian day, referred to as “sol,” is 24 hours and 37 minutes long, about 40 minutes longer than a day on Earth.

Perseverance and its robotic partner, the Ingenuity helicopter, landed inside Mars’ Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021. Ever since, the car-sized rover has been hunting for signs of ancient Mars life on the floor of Jezero Crater.

Perseverance rover recently completed its exploration of the ancient river delta that holds evidence of a lake that filled Jezero Crater billions of years ago, according to NASA.

The six-wheeled rover has to date collected a total of 23 samples, revealing the geologic history of this region of Mars in the process.

“We picked Jezero Crater as a landing site because orbital imagery showed a delta — clear evidence that a large lake once filled the crater. A lake is a potentially habitable environment, and delta rocks are a great environment for entombing signs of ancient life as fossils in the geologic record,” said Perseverance’s project scientist Ken Farley, of the California Institute of Technology.

A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith, according to NASA.