PASADENA, CA - FEBRUARY 18: In this handout image provided by NASA, members of NASA's Perseverance rover team react in mission control after receiving confirmation the spacecraft successfully touched down on Mars, , February 18, 2021 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. A key objective for Perseverance's mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet's geology and past climate, paving the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
A NASA rover has landed on Mars in an epic quest to bring back rocks that could answer whether life ever existed on the red planet. The space agency says the six-wheeled Perseverance hurtled through the thin, orange atmosphere and settled onto the surface Thursday in the mission’s riskiest maneuver yet. Mars has long been a deathtrap for incoming spacecraft. Perseverance will collect geological samples that will be brought back to Earth in about a decade to be analyzed for signs of ancient microscopic life.