Perseverance has Landed. Here are its First Pictures From the Surface of Mars

They’ve done it again. After a journey of nearly seven months for the Perseverance rover, the Navigation and Entry, Descent and Landing teams successfully guided their intrepid traveler to a pinpoint landing inside Jezero Crater on Mars on February 18, 2021.

And within minutes of the landing, Perseverance sent back two images from the front and rear Hazard Avoidance Cameras, revealing its surroundings on the Red Planet.

NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image of the area in front of it using its onboard Front Left Hazard Avoidance Camera A. This image was acquired on Feb. 18, 2021 (Sol 0) at the local mean solar time of 20:58:24. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

I love the first image, above, from the Front Left Hazard Avoidance Camera A, because it shows Perseverance’s shadow on Mars. To me, this image says, “I’m here, we made it!”

Below is the view from the second picture the rover beamed back, from the Rear Right Hazard Avoidance Camera, showing all the things planetary rover scientists like to see: rocks to study, and an immediate flat place to drive around.

NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image of the area in back of it using its onboard Rear Right Hazard Avoidance Camera. This image was acquired on Feb. 18, 2021 (Sol 0) at the local mean solar time of 20:59:31. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

For the first time, the rover teams were able to quickly determine exactly where Perseverance had landed. That’s because part of Perseverance’s new landing system was a new navigation package that took images of the landing area and compared them with maps to pick out a safe spot to touch down. “This is finally like landing with your eyes open,” said NASA scientist Swati Mohan who provided the play-by-play during the NASA livestream of the landing.

There’s a rumor more images will be released today, perhaps even some from the Entry Descent and Landing (EDL). Another rumor says by Monday, NASA may be able to release the video and audio the rover’s landing system took. Audio from one of the rover’s microphones (read more about them here) will be paired with full-color video taken by the EDL cameras. This will allow viewers to experience what landing on Mars both looks and sounds like for the very first time. So, stay tuned!

#ICYMI @NASAPersevere landed on Mars yesterday! Check out all the details of landing here:

Originally tweeted by NASA Langley Research Center (@NASA_Langley) on February 19, 2021.

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004. She is the author of a new book on the Apollo program, "Eight Years to the Moon," which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible. Her first book, "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond.

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  • NASA made the landing look easy, the STEM discoveries from this epic mission will help and inspire us even further on and off earth in the coming decades. Microbial life will no doubt be found and fill in some of the blanks: astrobiology and cosmology are the future.

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