Perseverance rover deposits select rock and soil samples in sealed tubes on Mars’s surface for future missions to retrieve and bring back to Earth for detailed study.


From the “you don’t say!” department of NASA space price tags, exploring the Red Planet is an expensive undertaking.

A new infographic from Statista offers a snap shot of NASA missions to Mars, revealing that the Perseverance rover remains the 7th most costly spacecraft in the history of the space agency’s planetary exploration program and the third most pricey Mars mission.

Credit: Statista


NASA expects to spend $2.7 billion on the project according to research from The Planetary Society, the Statista graphic shows, a figure that is expected to ascend to $2.9 billion when inflation adjustments are included at the end of its lifespan. The spacecraft itself accounted for the lion’s share of the funding at $2.2 billion while launch services came to $243 million. Two years of prime mission operations are expected to add a further $200 million.

NASA Viking missions to Mars of the 1970s.
Credit: NASA


Rack ‘em, stack ‘em

“Despite that seemingly hefty price tag, Perseverance remains the 7th most expensive spacecraft in the history of NASA’s planetary exploration program and the third most expensive Mars mission,” Niall McCarthy of Statista explains.

The just-landed rover trails NASA’s Viking 1 and 2 orbiter/lander missions of the 1970s, as well as the Curiosity rover which experienced cost growth after missing its original launch window.

“All four Mars projects remain among the most expensive missions ever undertaken by NASA,” the Statisa infographic background explains.

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