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New Delhi: NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover successfully landed on the surface of Mars on Friday, engineers and scientists at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory were relieved to see the rover’s health reports as it showed that everything was working as it supposed to be. The high-resolution stills was extracted from a video taken by the descent stage of the spacecraft that had transported the rover from Earth.
At the final phase of landing. the descent stage was using its six-engined jetpack to slow to a speed of about 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) per hour as part of the “skycrane maneuver”. According to an AFP report, Adam Steltzner who is Perseverance’s chief engineer exclaimed “you can see the dust kicked up by the rover’s engines.” He estimated the shot was taken about two meters (six feet) or so above the ground.
— NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) February 19, 2021
In the image, the three straight lines are mechanical bridles holding the rover underneath the descent stage, while the curly cable was used to transmit the data from the cameras to Perseverance.
In an captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, showed Perseverance as it was parachuting down through the atmosphere at hundreds of miles an hour. Perseverance later uploaded its first high-resolution, color photo showing the flat region it landed on in the Jezero Crater, where a river and deep lake existed billions of years ago. In the second image, showed one of the rover’s six wheels with several honeycombed rocks thought to be more than 3.6 billion years old lying next to it.
According to NASA’s blog post, acting Administrator Steve Jurczyk said “this landing is one of those pivotal moments for NASA, the United States, and space exploration globally – when we know we are on the cusp of discovery and sharpening our pencils, so to speak, to rewrite the textbooks”. He further said, “the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission embodies our nation’s spirit of persevering even in the most challenging of situations, inspiring, and advancing science and exploration. The mission itself personifies the human ideal of persevering toward the future and will help us prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.”
In the days to come, engineers will study the rover’s data, updating its software and beginning to test its various instruments. According to NASA’s blog, in the following weeks, Perseverance will test its robotic arm and take its first, short drive. After about 30 to 60 days, Perseverance will find a flat location to drop off Ingenuity, the mini-helicopter attached to the rover’s belly, then it will begin its science mission and search for its first sample of Martian rock and sediment.
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