Nat Geo Doc ‘Built for Mars: The Perseverance Rover’ Details the High Drama Behind Its Construction

built for mars the perseverance rover
Preview
NASA/JPL-CALTECH

“Our baby” is what the team behind NASA’s Perseverance Rover call their robotic vehicle, scheduled to touch down today in Mars’ Jezero Crater on a mission to search for signs of ancient life.

The two-hour special, Built for Mars: The Perseverance Rover, documents a year of the craft’s construction at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

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Engineers and technicians put their hearts, souls and brains into every bolt and wire (above, an artist’s rendering) and overcame mechanical problems and a global pandemic.

“Building and testing one-of-a-kind robots that have to function on their own for years in a frigid, almost airless alien world is a demanding and often unpredictable job,” says writer-director Mark J. Davis. “This captures the tense human drama behind the race to the launchpad.”

Built for Mars: The Perseverance Rover, Airs Thursday, February 18, 9/8c, National Geographic