The Mars Perseverance rover is on the move! The HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spotted the rover from above, the first view since shortly after the rover landed in February 2021. Perseverance appears as the white speck in the center of the image above, in the the “South Séítah” area of Mars’ Jezero Crater.
The HiRISE team said the rover is about 700 meters (2,300 feet) from its original landing site.
“The rover doesn’t drive in a straight line,” wrote team member Shane Byrne, “and has covered much more ground than that, and faint wheel tracks on the nearby ground are visible.”
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You can see the various arrays of sand dunes in the image, and HiRISE shots like this one allow the rover team to choose the best route to get to their primary target. These images also help put the rover’s observations in context within Jezero Crater.
HiRISE also took dramatic images of the rover’s landing, nabbing a shot of Perseverance rover as it descended through the Martian atmosphere, hanging under its parachute, as well as photos of the “debris” from landing: the discarded backshell and parachute.
ESA’s Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) also took an image from orbit of Perseverance, about a week after the rover landed.
Perseverance will spend its mission (two years primary mission, which will likely be extended) searching for signs of past microbial life. Jezero Crater appears to have a preserved river delta and clay-rich sedimentary deposits, leading planetary geologists to deduce this crater could have hosted a standing body of water billions of years ago. For this reason, it was selected as the landing site for the mission, since it is believed to be a good place to find evidence of past life.
Rest assured, MRO and the other orbiters at Mars will continue sending back images of the various rovers and landers on Mars, and we’ll keep posting ‘em!