Incredible Sneak Peek of Mars Landing Sent Back by NASA’s Perseverance Rover - SolidRumor.com

Incredible Sneak Peek of Mars Landing Sent Back by NASA’s Perseverance Rover

 Incredible Sneak Peek of Mars Landing Sent Back by NASA’s Perseverance Rover

The six-wheeled robot’s latest data since touching down yesterday include a series of images captured as the rover’s “jet pack” lowered it to the ground.

Less than a day after NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover successfully landed on the surface of Mars, engineers and scientists at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California were hard at work, awaiting the next transmissions from Perseverance. As data gradually came in, relayed by several spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet, the Perseverance team were relieved to see the rover’s health reports, which showed everything appeared to be working as expected.

This is a high-resolution still image, part of a video taken by several cameras as NASA’s Perseverance rover touched down on Mars. A camera aboard the descent stage captured this shot. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Adding to the excitement was a high-resolution image taken during the rover’s landing. While NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover sent back a stop-motion movie of its descent, Perseverance’s cameras are intended to capture video of its touchdown and this new still image was taken from that footage, which is still being relayed to Earth and processed.

This high-resolution image shows one of the six wheels aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover, which landed on February 18, 2021. The image was taken by one of Perseverance’s color Hazard Cameras (Hazcams). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Unlike with past rovers, the majority of Perseverance’s cameras capture images in color. After landing, two of the Hazard Cameras (Hazcams) captured views from the front and rear of the rover, showing one of its wheels in the Martian dirt. Perseverance got a close-up from NASA’s eye in the sky, as well: NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance. Orbiter, which used a special high-resolution camera to capture the spacecraft sailing into Jezero Crater, with its parachute trailing behind. The High Resolution Camera Experiment (HiRISE) camera did the same for Curiosity in 2012. JPL leads the orbiter’s mission, while the HiRISE instrument is led by the University of Arizona.

This is the first high-resolution, color image to be sent back by the Hazard Cameras (Hazcams) on the underside NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover after its landing on February 18, 2021. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Several pyrotechnic charges are expected to fire later on Friday, releasing Perseverance’s mast (the “head” of the rover) from where it is fixed on the rover’s deck. The Navigation Cameras (Navcams), which are used for driving, share space on the mast with two science cameras: the zoomable Mastcam-Z and a laser instrument called SuperCam. The mast is scheduled to be raised Saturday, February 20, after which the Navcams are expected to take panoramas of the rover’s deck and its surroundings.

The descent stage holding NASA’s Perseverance rover can be seen falling through the Martian atmosphere in this image taken on February 18, 2021 by the HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. An ellipse indicates where Perseverance touched down. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

In the days to come, engineers will pore over the rover’s system data, updating its software and beginning to test its various instruments. In the following weeks, Perseverance will test its robotic arm and take its first, short drive. It will be at least one or two months until Perseverance will find a flat location to drop off Ingenuity, the mini-helicopter attached to the rover’s belly, and even longer before it finally hits the road, beginning its science mission and searching for its first sample of Martian rock and sediment.

More About the Mission

A primary objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology research, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith, paving the way for human exploration of the Red Planet.

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), will send spacecraft to Mars to collect these cached samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.

JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission and the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter technology demonstration for NASA.