NASA’s Rover Lands on Mars, Sends Back First Images

February 21, 2021, 09.05 AM
A screen grab of the NASA Perseverance rover lands on Mars on Thursday, February 18, 2021. screenshootA screen grab of the NASA Perseverance rover lands on Mars on Thursday, February 18, 2021.

Pauline Hwang, strategic mission manager for surface operations, described the situation when the first photos came through: "The team went wild."

"We were just kind of like on cloud nine ... this weird dreamlike state, we can't actually believe this is what we're seeing," she said.

Next steps

The mast of the rover was expected to be raised on Saturday allowing several other cameras to start recording images.

The navigation cameras, used for driving, are located close to two science cameras — a zoomable Mastcam-Z and a laser instrument called SuperCam.

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The cameras allow the scientists and engineers to get an even better view of our neighboring planet than previous expeditions, but as they explained over a live broadcast, the signals sent from the control team to the rover can take between five and 20 minutes.

That means that the team has to send a series of instructions to Perseverance at the beginning of the day and wait a while to see what happens.

The mission aims to collect rock samples which will be collected by subsequent missions in cooperation with the European Space Agency ( ESA).

It is hoped that Perseverance will pave the way for future human exploration of the red planet.

 

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