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

built for mars the perseverance rover

“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.

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