Mar 5, 2020 - Science

NASA's next Mars rover is named Perseverance

Artist's illustration of the Perseverance rover on Mars. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's next Mars rover, expected to launch to the Red Planet in July, is officially named Perseverance.

The big picture: Once on Mars, the mission is designed to search out possible signs of past life on the planet and cache samples for a future mission to return back to Earth one day.

Details: The name — suggested by Virginia seventh-grader Alexander Mather — and eight other finalists were voted on by members of the public. Those results were then submitted to NASA for review.

  • The rover joins other Mars spacecraft that have been named by the public, including Opportunity, Spirit, Sojourner and Curiosity.
  • Opportunity's nickname was Oppy during its time working on Mars, so perhaps Perseverance will earn the nickname Percy in that same style.

What's next: Perseverance is now being checked out ahead of launch at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

  • If all goes according to plan, the spacecraft should land on Mars in the planet's Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021.
  • That landing site is thought to be one of the best places to hunt for signs of past life on the Red Planet.

Go deeper: Where to hunt for life on Mars

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Curiosity rover captures a Martian panorama

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The hiking on Mars must be pretty sweet. A new panoramic image taken by NASA's Curiosity shows the mountains of the Red Planet in all their glory.

Why it matters: The 1.8-billion-pixel panorama is the highest-resolution photo of its kind taken by Curiosity so far.

Go deeperArrowMar 10, 2020 - Science

The coronavirus pandemic is setting back the space industry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

From canceled conferences to a delayed Mars mission, the space industry is starting to feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as it spreads across the globe.

Why it matters: Hundreds of thousands of people are already experiencing the devastating effects of the pandemic.

Go deeperArrowMar 17, 2020 - Science

Europe, Russia delay Mars mission to 2022

Artist's illustration of the rover on Mars. Photo: ESA/ATG medialab

The European Space Agency and Roscosmos announced on Thursday that their joint ExoMars mission expected to launch this year is now delayed to 2022.

The big picture: The decision to postpone the mission was made due to technical issues around the spacecraft's development and possible travel restrictions resulting from the unfolding novel coronavirus pandemic.

Go deeperArrowMar 12, 2020 - Science