On July 30, 2020, the perseverance rover left Earth, and on February 18, 2021, the rover landed on Mars. The perseverance rover was cheaper to create than the curiosity rover. The Perseverance rover is largely-based on the engineering from the Curiosity rover. The Curiosity rover cost an estimated 2.5 billion USD & the Perseverance cost 2.4 billion USD.
The Landing Zone
The Perseverance rovers landing zone was the Jezero Crater. According to NASA, "the Jezero Crater is 28 miles (45 kilometers) wide and located on the western edge of a flat plain called Isidis Planitia, which lies just north of the Martian equator."
Jezero Crater formed an estimated 3.6 billion years ago due to being hit by some space rock. Jezero Crater used to have water however the water evaporated. The Perseverance rover may find life from when the Jezero Crater had water.
The perseverance rover will be studying martian soil, rock, the ground-level atmosphere, and the perseverance rover will be looking for microbial life. Other rovers in the past have done the same thing. However, this time will be different because the perseverance rover will be focusing on science that can contribute to the first human mission to Mars.
The perseverance rover will be testing a technology called MOXIE. MOXIE- Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment. MOXIE will extract oxygen from the red planet's atmosphere. MOXIE is a stepping stone for human life on Mars. If MOXIE is successful, engineers should be able to create complex facilities and transportation for humans on Mars.
New Rover Technology
The Perseverance rover uses the same landing technology used for the Curiosity rover. However, the Perseverance rover has improved landing with the innovation of terrain relative navigation. Terrain relative navigation allows the rover to avoid dangerous objects by taking decent photos, comparing to the orbital map, and then diverting if necessary. Other rovers would pretty much have a set landing zone and hope for the best.
The Perseverance rover has a new technology called range trigger. Range trigger essentially tells the parachute when to activate so Perseverance can land closer to the target landing zone. Perseverance's target landing zone is in Jezero Crater with a fully-colored camera and microphone.
The Mars Helicopter
Months after the rover land on Mars, the helicopter will take-off, for the first time. The mars helicopter's main body is the size of a tissue box. The purpose of the Mars helicopter will be to demonstrate rotorcraft flight on Mars.
On Earth, engineers at NASA performed artificial flight tests in an artificial Mars environment that were successful. According to the laws of physics, it's impossible to fly a helicopter in Mars's atmosphere.