Perseverance, the Mars rover, gives us a spectacular landing selfie

Excited engineers revealed “fantastic” new images of the Perseverance Mars rover From Friday, including a dramatic shot from above showing the six-wheeled robot coming down to the surface of Jezero crater by its rocket-powered backpack.

Another photo, this one taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter while flying over the landing site during the rover’s descent on Thursday, showed Perseverance’s flying saucer-shaped aeroshell suspended below the rover’s parachute against the backdrop of Jezero crater.

A view of the Perseverance rover taken from above by a camera on its rocket-powered descent stage as the six-wheeled robot lowered itself to the surface of Jezero crater. The rover was about six feet off the ground when this photo was taken.

NASA / JPL-Caltech

the first color image It was also displayed from the surface, courtesy of a hazard avoidance camera, or “hazcam,” mounted just below Perseverance’s body that shows a crystal clear view of the debris-strewn ground where the rover landed.

For Adam Steltzner, chief engineer of the Perseverance mission and the man who managed the descent of the Curiosity rover to Mars in 2012, the image of Perseverance suspended from above was nothing short of inspiring.

“The team is overwhelmed with excitement and joy to have successfully landed another rover on Mars,” he said.

Showing iconic images of past space triumphs, from astronaut Buzz Aldrin standing on the moon, to the Hubble Space Telescope “Pillars of creation“and a spectacular image of ringed Saturn, said Steltzner,” We can only hope … that one day we can contribute another iconic image to this collection. “

The first color image of Perseverance comes from a hazard avoidance camera, or hazcam, on the front of the rover showing the relatively clear terrain ahead.

NASA / JPL-Caltech

“I’m hopeful that we can handle this today,” he said, revealing Perseverance’s shot from above. “There are these fantastic images that we have had the opportunity to take and that we are still coming down from the surface … and we look forward to seeing them in the next few days.”

The perseverance landing Thursday culminated a seven-month journey from Earth that covered 293 million miles.

The final leg of the trip, and by far the most risky Since launch, it was the seven-minute descent from the top of the Martian atmosphere to the floor of the Jezero crater using a supersonic parachute, new hazard avoidance systems, and the rocket-powered descent stage that lowered the rover to landing.

“I am pleased to say that the rover is performing very well and healthy on the surface of Mars,” said Pauline Hwang, assistant manager of strategic mission.

The spectacular “sky crane” maneuver brought Perseverance to the surface in a region known as Canyon de Chelly, just beyond a wide delta formation that fans out from the rim of Jezero Crater. The delta is made up of deposits brought in by a river that once cut a channel at the crater rim.

Perseverance’s landing in Jezero crater was timed to coincide with a flyby by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, which transmitted the rover’s telemetry to Earth. The orbiter also took this photo showing Perseverance’s fully inflated parachute, attached to the rover’s protective aeroshell, descending toward the landing site. The small circle indicates the rover’s landing site. The MRO spacecraft was 435 miles from Perseverance and traveling through space at 6,750 mph when this photo was taken.

NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona

Perseverance will study the deposits on the Jezero floor and the delta, collecting rock and soil samples that could reveal the presence of “biosignatures,” remnants of past microbial life. NASA is working with the European Space Agency on plans to retrieve the samples later this decade and return them to Earth for analysis.

“To say that the Perseverance science team is excited that this rover is safe on Mars is an understatement,” said Katie Stack Morgan, deputy project scientist. “We’ve been waiting for this moment for years. And we’re finally here.”

But first, the engineers plan to spend several weeks activating the rover’s communications systems, updating its computer software, checking its science instruments, disassembling and testing its robotic arm, and releasing a small helicopter to test the feasibility of flight in the thin Martian atmosphere.

Over the weekend, engineers plan to erect Perseverance’s remote sensing mast so that high-resolution cameras can capture panoramic views of the upper body of the rover and its immediate surroundings in the Jezero evaluator. The software update, a four-day process, is expected to take place next week.

Meanwhile, new images of the rover’s dramatic descent and possibly a video are expected by Monday, when NASA plans another briefing.


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