On February 18th, 2021, the fifth Mars rover landed on Mars. The rover, named Perseverance, is tasked with the job of seeking signs of ancient life and collecting samples of rock and soil for a possible return to Earth. The rover will search for signs of ancient microbial life, which will advance NASA's quest to explore the past habitability of Mars. It has a drill to collect core samples of Martian rock and soil, then store them in sealed tubes. Eventually, these tubes may be picked up by a future mission that would return them to Earth for analysis.
The first Mars rover, Sojourner, was launched in 1997. The newest rover, Perseverance, is unique to its predecessors as it was accompanied by the first Mars helicopter. This served as a technological demonstration to test powered flight on another world for the first time. Every mission is historic, and it seems like a human expedition to Mars is closer than we think.
At GrasshoppHer, we dedicated February to celebrating Women in S.T.E.M. Since S.T.E.M. is a male-dominated field, women are often left discouraged, overlooked, or unsupported in their classes or their careers. Perseverance's historic landing is accompanied by several amazing women on the Perseverance NASA team we want to highlight.
These women made admirable contributions to science through their hard work and dedication. They paved the way for women for many years to come. Maybe one of them may end up on the red planet someday soon.