On February 18, under the watchful eyes of the entire Earth, Perseverance landed on Mars, in the neighbourhood of Jezero crater. Since then, the NASA rover has sent beautiful and incredible images of the red planet. But its primary goal remains to collect rock samples in order to find possible traces of ancient life on Mars.
Baby steps first
Two weeks later, Perseverance is still there—obviously—and making progress. Thus, this Thursday, March 4, the robot took its first 'steps,' as revealed by NASA the next day. Perseverance was able to move a few meters on its first try, so all in all, a 100% successful trip. It was intended to verify that the vehicle, equipped with six wheels, could indeed move forward. The details of this trip? It moved forward four meters, spun to the left, and then backed up about 2.5 meters. And all of this in exactly thirty three minutes.
NASA has, this Friday, March 5, published the photographs of this operation. On a snapshot, posted on Twitter where it earned more than 10,000 retweets, you can see the tracks of the rover's wheels on the ground of the red planet. You can see all of this in the video at the top of our article. During a press conference, Anais Zarifian, engineer in charge of the mobility of the rover, expressed her great joy:
I don't think I've ever been happier to see wheel marks. Our first movements went incredibly well, and it's a huge milestone for the mission.
Now that NASA has been able to see that this robot the size of a large car can move, daily trips are being planned. Perseverance would thus be able to travel about 200 meters per Martian day.