After seven months of travel and 292 million miles, NASA’s fastest and best-equipped rover, Perseverance, landed safely Thursday on Mars.
The $2.7 billion rover landed, after successfully overcoming the “seven minutes of terror” involved in traversing the red planet’s thin atmosphere, on the rocky surface of the Jezero Crater.
It has now become the fifth such rover to explore the red planet, in this case with the goal of discovering signs of past microbial life and will collect select rock and sediment samples for future shipment to Earth.
“What an incredible team to work through all the adversities and challenges that come with landing a rover on Mars, in addition to the challenges of Covid,” NASA Acting Administrator Steve Jurczyk noted shortly after the landing.
Perseverance is carrying two microphones, which for the first time will pick up sound from Mars, and a four-legged helicopter weighing less than 2 kilograms, the Ingenuity Mars, which will attempt the first controlled, powered flight on another planet.