For anyone who may have been consumed with weather, COVID-19 or other major news lately (there’s been a lot going on), a pretty spectacular thing happened this past week: A rover named Perseverance landed on Mars to do some exploring.
The landing is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort to explore the Red Planet. There are many things NASA is hoping to cover while up there.
It will seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock, broken rock and soil for possible return to Earth.
According to NASA, the mission will also gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address what challenges may be presented for future human expeditions to Mars.
Perseverance will test a method for producing oxygen in the atmosphere, identify other resources, such as subsurface water, improving landing techniques, and characterizing weather, dust and other potential environmental conditions that could affect future astronauts living and working on Mars.
Whew, that’s a big job. But the first job it executed was delivering some amazing images.
The rover captured its first 360-degree photo on Feb. 20, two days after landing on Mars, and the vividness of it is quite stunning. You can see that, along with some other photos the rover has captured, below.
This is the first 360-degree panorama taken by Mastcam-Z, a zoomable pair of cameras aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover. The panorama was stitched together on Earth from 142 individual images taken on Sol 3, the third Martian day of the mission (Feb. 21, 2021). Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS
This shows the rim of Jezero Crater as seen in the first 360-degree panorama taken by the Mastcam-Z instrument aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover (Feb. 24, 2021). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/ASU
NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using its Right Mastcam-Z camera (Feb. 24).
NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using its Rover Down-Look Camera. This camera is mounted on the bottom of the rover and looks down at the surface (Feb. 23, 2021).
There are some amazing things to hear and see on NASA’s Perseverance page. Check them out by clicking or tapping here.