Larkspur, Colorado — The land rover landed on Mars on Thursday and the rover is currently exploring a site in an ancient lakebed.
The mission is part of NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter program, which is designed to explore the moon.
NASA has been working to send a robotic lander to Mars since 1972, but its plans have been thwarted by political opposition.
The agency announced Thursday that it is going ahead with the mission, saying the mission will be about exploring a part of Mars that hasn’t been explored in human history.
The lander will be named Curiosity.
It will be carrying instruments that will help scientists understand the past, present and future of the Red Planet.
NASA said it was launching the lander in the summer of 2020 and that the rover will begin landing on Mars in the 2020s.
“This is a significant milestone for the mission and we look forward to continuing to work with the team on landing activities in 2020,” said Jeff Williams, chief scientist of the mission.
The rover will land in the Gale Crater, an area of Mars formed during the last ice age.
The crater, which contains the remains of an ancient city, is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) wide and 10 miles (16 kilometers) deep.
The landing site is about two-thirds of the way to the surface, which scientists say will help them better understand the composition of Mars.
Mars is the only planet where humans have explored for life, and it has been difficult for scientists to find evidence of life beyond water, which the surface is covered in.
NASA plans to send the landers back to Earth to gather more samples.