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In case you missed it, last year we sent a rover to Mars.  It has been traveling through space since then, but tomorrow (February 18th) it is scheduled to land at 2:55 pm on .  I know a lot has happened in the last year, and we've already landed a couple of rovers on the Red Planet - but believe me, this is a big deal.

In July of last year, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) strapped about $2.2 Billion in the most advanced technology they could possibly design and build on top of an Atlas 5 rocket sent the whole package first-class to Mars.  The mission is to collect some rocks and Martian soil samples, shoot some awesome videos, and find definitive proof that life existed on this now barren rock.

That's right, NASA is bound and determined to find out if Martians were sci-fi movie make-believe, or real creatures that thrived on this alien world - and they want your kids involved!  If you're looking to sneak a little education into their screen time, just check out the Mars Exploration page NASA put together to get your kids interested in the exploration at hand.  The space agency has put forth some pretty awesome tools to help parents, and this advice to kids “Engage [your] curious minds, get a good science education and come help us solve problems.”

The agency's plan is a little more bold this time around.  Instead of just driving around Mars taking samples and some pretty stunning video like the Sojourner, Opportunity, Spirit, and Curiosity rovers did - this gigantic rolling laboratory is loaded with all kinds of equipment, sensors, and its own helicopter.

A tiny drone named Ingenuity will launch from the rover in order to provide an eye in the sky.  Perseverance will use this data to locate points of interest to explore and to map out the best possible route to get there.

This mission could provide us with the best answers yet on whether or not life has ever existed on Mars, and if it could possibly host human life in the near future.

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