The rover, which landed on Mars’ Jezero Crater in February 2021, is currently searching for signs of ancient microbial life. NASA shared on Instagram, “Perseverance has been busy exploring the dusty, rocky environment around Mars’ Jezero Crater for more than 217 Earth days (that’s 211 Martian days, or sols). And the story of Mars, once flowing with lava and water, is beginning to unfold.”
NASA also stated that the Perseverance rover will help uncover mysteries about the planet’s geology and past climate. It will also pave the way for human exploration of Mars. “Using its WATSON camera, our Perseverance rover took a selfie with Rochette, a rock from which the rover used its robotic arm to drill core samples.”
NASA’s Perseverance Rover Lands Safely on Mars in February 2021
On February 18, 2021, NASA’s Perseverance rover made its official and safe landing on Mars. It took 203 days (traversing 293 million miles) for the rover to arrive.
According to NASA, the mission was launched on July 30, 2020, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The organization revealed that the mission marks an “ambitious” first step in the effort to collect Mars samples.
Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk revealed the mission “embodies” the U.S. spirit of persevering even in the most challenging situations. “The mission itself personifies the human ideal of persevering towards the future. [It] will help us prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.”
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for science at NASA, then noted that Perseverance is the first step in bringing back rock and regolith from the Red Planet. Zurbuchen then added, “We don’t know what these pristine samples from Mars will tell us. But what they could tell us is monumental – including that life might have once existed beyond Earth.”
NASA Scientists Share More Details About the Camera on the Perseverance Rover
According to NASA, around 800 scientists and engineers from around the world currently make up the large Perseverance team. This also includes smaller teams for each of the rover’s cameras and instruments.
While sharing more details about the rover’s images and findings, Co-Lead for Perseverance’s first science campaign at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Vivian Sun, revealed in a press release, “The image cameras are a huge piece of everything. We use a lot of them every single day for science. They’re absolutely mission-critical.”
The NASA scientist further explained the navigation camera data is useful to have for follow-ups. This is done with higher-resolution instruments like SuperCam and Mastcam-Z.