NASA on Monday released a new photograph from Perseverance rover mission on Mars. This was the first image acquired from the mission after it touched down on Mars on February 18, 2021 at the local mean solar time of 15:53:58. It was selected by public vote and has been featured as “Image of the Week” for Week 1 (February 14 – February 20, 2021) of the Mars mission.
NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image of the area in front of it using its onboard Front Left Hazard Avoidance Camera A.
On Friday, NASA had released stunning new photographs from Perseverance, including one of the rover being gently lowered to the surface of Mars by a set of cables, the first time such a view has been captured.
The high-resolution still was extracted from a video taken by the descent stage of the spacecraft that had transported the rover from Earth.
At that moment, 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,” the final phase of landing.
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.
Another new image, taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, captures Perseverance as it was parachuting down through the atmosphere at hundreds of miles an hour.
A second color image shows 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.
Volcanic rocks in particular can be dated with very high precision once the samples are brought back to Earth on a future return mission — an exciting development from a planetary science perspective.
The first two images were released on Thursday shortly after the rover landed, but they were lower resolution and in black-and-white because of the limited data rate available.
NASA hopes to have more high resolution photos and videos in the coming days, but doesn’t know yet if it has successfully recorded sound on Mars for the first time using microphones.