24 hours after Perseverance landed on Mars, the US space agency unveiled a spectacular image of its rover during the descent just before touchdown. The final approach to the Jezero crater can be clearly seen, as can the rover with its six wheels, still attached by cables to its jet pack.
By the time the photo was unveiled to the world, Perseverance had separated from its parachute and heat shield. On Thursday evening, NASA shared with the world the first black and white photos, which were blurry because of the transparent strips protecting the cameras.
The first colour photos of Perseverance on Mars
Nicolas Mangold, a geologist specialising in Mars at the Laboratory of Planetology and Geodynamics in Nantes, France, and a member of the mission, said:
We are just one kilometre from the centre of the landing ellipse. So we're starting the mission where we wanted to.
Last Friday evening, HiRise delivered an extraordinary image of the Mars 2020 mission module's descent containing NASA's Perseverance rover through the Martian atmosphere.
This image, taken on February 18th, 2021, also shows an ancient river delta. The first colour images were made public last week, as were the previously unseen images of the crossing of the atmosphere during the famous ‘seven minutes of terror.’ Katie Stack Morgan, the project's assistant scientist, told the American press:
One of the questions we are going to ask ourselves first is whether these rocks are of volcanic or sedimentary origin.
As a reminder, Perseverance is the fifth rover that NASA has placed on Mars following Sojourner in 1997, the Spirit and Opportunity rovers from the MER mission in 2002, and Curiosity in 2012.
Will the Mars 2020 mission be a scientific success? One of Perservance's missions remains to find the presence of another life form on Mars. We might have the answer in the coming months.
Take a look at the incredible images in the video above!