NASA Mars Perseverance rover celebrates one year on the Red Planet

NASA Mars Perseverance rover takes a selfie on Mars
(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

The NASA Mars Perseverance rover is celebrating its one year "landiversary" on the Red Planet on Friday, marking a year of starts and stops in its pursuit of evidence of ancient life on Mars.

The Perseverance rover landed on February 18, 2021 at 3:55PM EST in the Jezero Crater on Mars, an ancient lakebed that offers the best chance for finding signs of ancient life on the planet.

See more

To celebrate, NASA is running a live Q&A session tonight at 7PM PST/10PM EST where scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory look back at the year that was with mission highlights and hopefully a preview of what's to come for the rover.

If you want to check it out, we embedded the YouTube stream below, or you can check out the stream on YouTube later tonight.

After Perseverance ticks over the one Earth-year mark tomorrow afternoon at 3:55PM EST, NASA will host a celebratory livestream on YouTube as well, starting at 4PM EST. We've also embedded that livestream below as well if you want to check it out on Friday, or you can follow along on YouTube

Analysis: let's not forget about NASA's Mars Ingenuity helicopter

While Perseverance is naturally getting a lot of attention, it didn't travel to Mars alone.

Soon after it landed, Perseverance deployed the Mars Ingenuity helicopter, which would go on to become the first aircraft to fly on another planet on April 19, 2021. That anniversary is a couple of months away, but in many ways, it's just as, if not more, important than Perseverance itself.

In addition to far outperforming expectations with more than a dozen flights on Mars, Ingenuity is providing vital data and experience on how to operate automated drone aircraft on another planet. 

This is going to be critically important for the upcoming Dragonfly exploration mission, planned for a 2026 launch with a 2034 landing on Saturn's moon Titan.

While the hunt for ancient life on Mars is important work, Titan is a world that is very rich in organic materials, and even has its own "water cycle" of methane precipitation, standing bodies of liquid methane on the surface, and evaporation.

Many of these processes mirror many of those found on the early Earth, so could hold the key to understanding how prebiotic organic compounds made the jump to living organisms. 

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.

Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).