After today’s historic landing, Mars will never look the same. With a mission to explore the planet for answers to questions around past life on Mars and the potential for future human expeditions, the Mars Perserverence rover is primed for the task.

In addition to the team at NASA, three companies with operations in Denver South played a large role in the continued exploration of the Red Planet.

United Launch Alliance, a Centennial-based company, kicked the mission off this past July by launching the rover into space aboard a United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket. This is the Atlas V’s 5th time to Mars and their role can’t be praised enough. According to the company website, the rocket needed to navigate the “most challenging terrain ever targeted by a robot spacecraft.”

One of the major hurdles in the journey and decent onto Mars is the intense heat during the journey – sometimes upwards of  5000°F! The state-of-the-art thermal protection system, created to protect the Perseverance through the universe’s harshest environments, was a brainchild of Lockheed Martin, employing over 1,500  in the Denver South region and over 10,000 in Colorado  This aeroshell ensured the rover made it to the mission intact.

Rounding out Colorado’s contribution is Sierra Nevada Corporation, a Nevada-based company with an estimated 2,000 full time employees in Colorado and a presence in Denver South and Centennial Airport. The aerospace powerhouse provided mission-critical hardware to make the landing and drilling possible, ensuring the goal of collecting and processing the samples taken from Mar’s surface.

A huge congratulations to the many people who made this historic mission a success! We are so proud to have such innovative and influential neighbors in Denver South.  We can’t wait to see your next big moves.

NASA Updates

First official image from the Mars Perseverance rover.