NASA’s Mars rover landed safely on the Red Planet … and its 293-million-mile journey is just beginning.
The Perseverance rover touched down at 12:56 PM PT Thursday, and quickly sent back the mission’s first image from Mars’ surface. As you can see, there’s lots of dirt, dust and rocks.
NASA’s mission control cheered and fist-bumped from California’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory when the rover survived the landing … a fun payoff after tons of hard work. Normally there would be bear hugs, but the celebration was spaced out and masked up.
Perseverance blasted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral way back in July, and now it’s set to start exploring Mars’ Jezero Crater in search of signs of ancient life. The crater is the site of an ancient lakebed, which scientists say is loaded with the remains of long-dead microbes.
The SUV-sized spacecraft even brought a small helicopter along for the first time ever, so more space history is on the way. When the chopper takes flight later on in the mission, it will be the first such flight on another planet.