Nasa reveals plan to send new Perseverance rover to hunt for alien life on Mars this year

NASA'S Mars 2020 rover has officially been named Perseverance and will be blasted off to space in July.

The aim is for Perseverance to hunt for alien life on the red planet and hopefully take some useful samples.

Nasa opened a competition to name the Mars rover last year.

It received over 28,000 submissions and has been won by 13-year-old Alexander Mather.

Mather submitted a winning essay which stated: "Curiosity. InSight. Spirit. Opportunity. If you think about it, all of these names of past Mars rovers are qualities we possess as humans. We are always curious, and seek opportunity.

"We have the spirit and insight to explore the Moon, Mars, and beyond. But, if rovers are to be the qualities of us as a race, we missed the most important thing. Perseverance. We as humans evolved as creatures who could learn to adapt to any situation, no matter how harsh."

He continued: "We are a species of explorers, and we will meet many setbacks on the way to Mars. However, we can persevere. We, not as a nation but as humans, will not give up.

"Even faced with bitter losses such as Opportunity and Vikram 2, the human race will always persevere into the future."

Mather has been invited to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida where he will witness Perseverance beginning its journey in July.

The rover is currently undergoing some final development stages at the Kennedy Space Center in Floridea.

Nasa are hoping to land Perseverance in Mars's Jezero Crater.

The space agency has already laid out a desired landing time of 15:40 EST (20:40 GMT) on February 18, 2021.

Nasa has a long-term goal of sending a manned-mission to Mars in the 2030s.

Mars facts

Here's what you need to know about the red planet…

  • Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun
  • It is named after the Roman god of war
  • The landmass of Mars is very similar to Earth but due to the difference in gravity you could jump three times higher there than you can here
  • Mars is mountainous and hosts the tallest mountain known in the Solar System called Olympus Mons, which is three times higher than Everest
  • Mars is considered to be the second most habitable planet after Earth
  • It takes the planet 687 Earth days to orbit the Sun
  • So far, there has been 39 missions to Mars but only 16 of these have been successful

In other space news, Elon Musk will be sending three ‘space tourists’ on a 10-day holiday to the International Space Station next year.

Lettuce has been successfully grown in space.

And, the most detailed panorama ever snapped from the surface of Mars has been unveiled by Nasa.

Do you like the name of the new Mars rover? Let us know in the comments…

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