After successfully lowering to the Martian surface via what NASA dubbed its “jetpack,” the Perseverance rover has beamed back some truly incredible images from the Red Planet.
The six-wheeled robot beamed back several high-resolution images taken during the rover’s landing. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter also captured the spacecraft sailing into the landing site within the Jezero Crater, with parachute in tow.
The snapshots were sent via several spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet but they’re just a teaser of what’s to come.
Video of the touchdown is still being relayed back to Earth and processed, which will take some time, given the profound lack of internet infrastructure in space.
The majority of Perseverance’s cameras capture images in color, including its Hazard Cameras (Hazcams) on the front and rear of the vehicle. On Friday, it extended its arms in explosive fashion, which will afford it an even better view of its surroundings in the months to come.
Perseverance will test its robotic arm and take its first test drive in the coming weeks before exploring the surface for a flat “landing pad” location from which to launch Integrity, its mini-helicopter/drone companion.
Together the pair will conduct vital astrobiology research, examining the Martian geology and past climate to better ascertain what happened to Earth’s neighbor while also assessing the viability of future human habitation, among other projects.
Perseverance will also become the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith in anticipation of future NASA and ESA missions which will collect these samples and return them to Earth.
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