The First 100 Days on Mars: How NASA’s Perseverance Rover Will Begin Its Mission

On a space mission, timing is everything. An intricate choreography of commands and actions is required to make any such mission a success, and none more so than an escapade on the surface of another world. Now, on February 18, NASA is set for another delicate dance of interplanetary chronology when its Perseverance rover touches down on Mars—the successor to its aesthetically identical sibling, Curiosity, which landed in 2012. This time around, the mission is conducting a search for past life on Mars, alongside other exciting experiments.

The 1,025-kilogram rover is powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator, fueled by heat from decaying plutonium, which should help it avoid a dust-laden fate such as prematurely ended the…

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