Because of the distance between Earth and Mars – more than 120 million miles – any signal the rover beams back to Earth will take about 11 minutes to reach us.
In other words, by the time we receive the first message Perseverance sends when it enters the atmosphere, the rover will have already landed.
Al Chen, a systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), said: “Success is never assured. And that’s especially true when trying to land the biggest, heaviest and most complicate rover, we’ve ever built to the most dangerous site we’ve ever attempted to land at.”
Perseverance is NASA’s fifth and most sophisticated rover to date.