Mars landing: Photo shows Perseverance rover during landing

Nasa releases an astonishing image of its new Mars robot taken just moments before touchdown.

Feb. 19, 2021 2 minSource

The American space agency has released an astonishing image sent back from Mars by its Perseverance rover.

It shows the robot heading down to the ground on Thursday during its landing. It was taken by the rocket cradle that placed the vehicle on the ground.

Perseverance has a large amount of data in its memory banks which it is gradually offloading to Earth.

Among other pictures is a view from a satellite that captures the rover in the parachute phase of its descent.

Nasa is promising more in the next few days.

This offering will include short movies shot during the touchdown sequence - with sound.

Perseverance has been sent to a near-equatorial crater known as Jezero where it will search for signs of past microbial life.

Engineers report Perseverance to be in good health, as they gradually commission its systems.

All the hardware needs to be assessed to be sure nothing was damaged during Thursday's plunge through the Martian atmosphere to the ground.

The most detailed pictures will come next week when Perseverance has raised its navigation mast and begun operating its main science cameras.

One of their first tasks will be to make panoramas to enable the mission team to fully understand the rover's surroundings.

Perseverance's landing technologies put it down almost bang on the targeted touchdown zone, about 2km to the southeast of what remains of an ancient river delta that formed at the edge of a lake.

It is sitting on a flat piece of ground at the boundary of two geologic units - a smooth unit under the wheels of the rover that contains dark volcanic rocks; and rougher unit that has rocks with a lot of the mineral olivine in them.

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