Even though the mission is planned for one Martian year — 687 Earth days — the new explorer comes strapped with a nuclear power source that will sustain for at least another 88 years.Plutonium-238 has always been the ideal candidate for deep-space travel. As the pellets decay, the heat generated creates electricity when running through thermoelectric generators. The electricity is used to charge the Perseverance rover’s lithium-ion batteries, which powers both the rover and all of its instruments.Perseverance will be NASA’s fifth successful Mars rover landing. It could also be the fifth successful Mars rover landing overall depending on whether or not China’s Tianwen-1 Mars mission gets there first. It already has a week on Perseverance and plans to deploy its rover in April. Perseverance plans to land in February. The Perseverance rover will be collecting samples of rocks and sediments that will one day come back to Earth by way of a future mission. The rover will be carrying test samples of different space suit material to see how well different compositions hold up against the radioactivity on Mars. This will give the space agencies back home a better understanding of what can be packed for the astronauts in their human mission to the Red Planet. The rover will be looking for signs of ancient Martian life on the surface while also hunting for any indication of microbial life on the planet. Its landing site, the Jezero Crater, once used to be a river delta. Scientists are hoping the once-upon-a-time presence of water will narrow down the clues.The Mars mission isn’t just about the Perseverance rover - but also the Ingenuity helicopter that will be safely nesting in the rover’s belly until it's ready to be deployed. After the Perseverance mission takes off, NASA has plans to fly another Mars rover to the Red Planet in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russia’s Roscomos in 2022.