'Something that we’ve never seen before': NASA's Mars rover Perseverance snaps a selfie, other 'stunning' photos
After a seven-month, 300 million mile journey, Perseverance has landed. And has the first high-definition color pictures of Mars to prove it.
Science & Tech
After a seven-month, 300-million-mile journey to the Red Planet, NASA's Perseverance rover has sent back the first high-definition color pictures of Mars, including a selfie.
On Friday, NASA released a photo of the rover in mid-descent as it was suspended under the sky crane moments before it touched down on the Martian surface.
“This is something that we’ve never seen before. It was stunning. The team was awestruck. Just a feeling of victory that we were able to capture these,” said Aaron Stehura, one of the leads on the entry, landing and descent team.
Two more images taken with a 20-megapixel camera show a wide shot of the landscape and a close-up of the rover’s front right wheel with rocks nearby. These are the first color images from the surface of Mars.
Perseverance’s primary mission is to search for microbial signs of life and its landing spot in Jezero Crater was hand-picked for that goal. It’s an ancient river delta that is marked by steep cliffs, sand dunes and large boulders.
“The back of the rover is actually looking toward the delta area and the front is actually looking downward,” Hwang explained.
“By the edge of the wheel is a rock and one of first things we noticed was that it has a lot of holes in it. There are a number of geological processes that can make holes in a rock like that," Perseverance Deputy Project scientist Katie Stack Morgan said. "One of the questions we’ll first ask is whether these rocks represent a volcanic or sedimentary origin. Both would be equally exciting to the team.”