The next robot jeep that NASA will send to Mars will be named Perseverance. The American space agency NASA announced this on Thursday (local time).
The Perseverance must look for traces of earlier microbiological life, and will also investigate the climate and geology of the red planet.
Signs of life
The new explorer is the successor to the Curiosity from 2012, which is still touring on Mars. The new vehicle has seven new instruments on board, say the engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The new devices will study the terrain of Mars and look for signs of life in soil samples.
“What we will learn from the samples that will be taken during this new mission has the potential to answer the question of whether we are alone in the universe,” said Ken Farley, a scientist involved in the project earlier.
For the new explorer, NASA also developed a new landing technology that will allow the vehicle to visit places on Mars that were too risky for Curiosity.
The name was given by a student from Virginia who won a national competition to baptize the Mars explorer. Until now, it went by the dry name ‘Mars 2020’. The intention is to leave in July to settle on Mars in February.
There were 28,000 participants in the competition. The winning student will now receive an invitation to attend the launch at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Previously, students for American Marsjeeps invented names such as Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity. The latter recently took the sharpest panoramic photo of Mars ever.