Perseverance safely landed on the Martian surface last week, and it was one spectacular feat. The rover has not rested on its laurels and has been getting straight up to some fantastic work, beaming back some photos, video, and audio from the Red Planet in what is described as some stunning footage.
Perseverance has the highest number of cameras compared to any other Mars rover to date. Yesterday, February 22, NASA held a live press conference named "See Mars Like Never Before! NASA's Perseverance Rover Sends New Video and Images of the Red Planet" to share some of the incredible footage from the rover.
Some of the first high-resolution images beamed back to Earth show Perseverance as it entered the Martian atmosphere and started its descent to the surface.
Included in some of the latest released images by NASA, a stunning 360-degree image taken by the navigation camera (M2020) on the rover showcases an awe-inspiring panoramic view of Perseverance's new home in the Jezero Crater. The panorama, taken on February 20, was stitched together from 6 individual images and shows a rocky, rusty-looking terrain.
Navigation Camera (M2020) view of Martian landscape in a 360-degree view. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
One of the key objectives of Perseverance's stay on the red planet for the next two years is to look for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will also investigate the geology of the planet and provide insights into the climate in preparation for future human exploration missions. The rover is also set to be the first to collect samples of rock and regolith that will hopefully be returned to Earth for further investigation in the future.
In the video below, you can experience the full 360-degree view by navigating around the video to see the Jezero Crater landscape in all its glory.
The rover is still currently going through a "check out" period, where all the onboard systems are being tested to make sure the rover is fully functioning and everything is ready before it starts its exploration and scientific investigations on the planet. One of the exciting exploration features onboard Perseverance to look forward to is a helicopter drone, Ingenuity.
In the weeks to come, Ingenuity
might become the first "drone" to fly on another planet, with 5 set flights planned during a 30-day mission. These flights are bound to be very short – lasting only about 90 seconds due to the battery limitations of the drone – however, the mission is to illustrate that as proof of concept, drones could fly in Martian skies in future missions if the test flights go to plan.
We are all eagerly waiting for Perserervance's next move.