NASA's new robotic rover on Mars, Perseverance — the agency's most ambitious effort in decades to directly study whether there was ever life on the red planet — is alive and well after landing on the planet's Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021.
Members of the triumphant team managing the spacecraft have been sharing pictures and videos captured by its cameras during landing and after the rover reached the surface. On February 23, NASA released the first 360-degree view of the landing site of the rover.
The video has been captured by the rover’s colour Navigation Cameras or Navcams that are on the remote sensing mast (or “head”) of the rover.
While the agency has landed other missions on Mars, the $2.7-billion robotic explorer Perseverance carries a sophisticated set of scientific tools that will bring advanced capabilities to the search for life beyond our planet.
NASA stated that Perseverance possesses the most number of cameras (19) than any Mars rover to date.
About the size of an SUV, the rover weighs a ton, is equipped with a seven-foot-long (two-metre) robotic arm, has two microphones, and a suite of cutting-edge instruments to assist in its scientific goals.
The rover is only the fifth ever to set its wheels down on Mars. The feat was first accomplished in 1997 and all of them have been American.
That will probably soon change as China's Tianwen-1 spacecraft entered Martian orbit last week and is expected to touch down with a stationary lander and a rover in May.