The Mars 2020 rover Perseverance, which launched on July 30, has now traveled 146 million miles (235 million kilometers) in deep space — half of the total required to reach the Red Planet, mission team members announced Tuesday (Oct. 27).
"While I don't think there will be cake, especially since most of us are working from home, it's still a pretty neat milestone," Julie Kangas, a mission navigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, said in a statement Tuesday.
Related: NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission in photos.
The 28-mile-wide (45 km) Jezero, where Perseverance will touch down on Feb.
In addition, Perseverance carries on its belly a small helicopter named Ingenuity, a demonstration craft designed to help pave the way for extensive rotorcraft exploration of Mars in the future.
The rover reached the exact halfway point in its interplanetary journey — 146.3 million miles (235.4 million km) — at 4:40 p.m.
"In straight-line distance, Earth is 26.6 million miles [42.7 million km] behind Perseverance and Mars is 17.9 million miles [28.8 million km] in front," Kangas said.
The Perseverance team hasn't been sitting on its hands during the mission's current "cruise phase." Over the past two weeks, for example, team members have performed checkouts of four different rover instruments!
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