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Perseverance Sends Back It's First Postcards

Perseverance landed on the Martian surface this week, and the results are already spectacular.

By Silek Sat 20 Feb, 2021 12:34 PM - Last Updated: Sat 20 Feb, 2021 1:33 PM
After what has come to be known as the ‘Seven Minutes of Terror’, Swati Mohan, Guidance, Navigation and Controls Operations Lead for the Perseverance mission, gave the world a collective sigh of relief when she announced, "Touchdown confirmed. Perseverance is safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking the signs of past life."

Chief engineer Adam Steltzner told CNN after the landing, "The team is overwhelmed with excitement and joy to have successfully landed another rover on the surface of Mars.perseverancelanding2
Perseverance moments before
touchdown on the Martian surface.
When we do such investments, we do them for humanity, and we do them as a gesture of our humanity."

Steltzner was quick to remark on his team's contribution to some of humankinds most well known and disseminated images of the cosmos. Speaking about the breathtaking images sent back to Earth within just the first day, Steltzner added, "We can only hope, in our efforts to engineer spacecraft and explore our solar system, that we might be able contribute yet another iconic image to this collection, and I'm happy to say that I'm hopeful that today we can with this."

Perseverence touched down on a 3.9 billion year old lakebed within the Jezero Crater on February 18th, 2021 at not quite 4:00pm. The rover will examine and classify the different types of rocks it finds and seek out different types of minerals and the possibility of signs that life may have once existed on the red planet.
Perseverance's tread against the
rocky landscape.

After four years of leading over 450 scientists around the world in the pursuit of a single goal, deputy project scientist Katie Stack Morgan almost sounds humbled as so many years of work come to fruition and the results present themselves almost immediately.

One of these such minerals, olivine, is expected to be found in the conditions that Mars presents, and hopes are high that the mission will result in positively identifying this mineral on the surface. Morgan, explains, “That's a mineral that is very interesting to us. Thoughts are that this could be an explosive ash deposit deposit into Jezero Crater. On the other hand, we are in a lake basin and these could be lake sediments that we're seeing. Between us and the delta, we have a lot of interesting science to do. As soon as we got that color image from the surface of Mars, our chats lit up with the science team saying 'look over here' and 'look over here.' And that's exactly what we were hoping for. I can’t believe we’re doing science on the surface of Mars.”
200716153644 01 ingenuity mars helicopter medium plus 169
Ingenuity, a helicoptor tucked underneath
Perseverance's main module.

On Friday Pauline Hwang, strategic mission manager, told reporters, “The rover is doing great and is healthy on the surface of Mars and continues to be highly functional and awesome.”

As mission manager Hwang will spearhead the next phase of Perseverance’s mission, which will be to asses it’s condition, functionality, and to determine the status of each of it’s instruments and components. Hwang explained that this will involve extending the mast which will expose more cameras to provide panorama viewscapes.

Tucked underneath the rover is it’s celestial companion, Ingenuity, a helicopter designed to carryout a series of test flights over a month’s time. This too will undergo a series of checkups to make sure it is in ‘flight ready’ condition.210219125424 preserverance navigation landing image exlarge 169
The landing spot (centered) surrounded in
red by designated 'mission kill zones'.

While the actual atmospheric entry can seem like the most harrowing part of the rover’s landing, the Martian surface can be just as treacherous with the vast majority of it considered ‘kill zones’ for landing a pieces of equipment such as this. Perseverance not only had to withstand the trials of atmospheric entry, but the slightest miscalculation on the actual landing site could end in complete mission failure.

True to form, with the help of countless engineers, scientists, artist, mathematicians, and so many more that go in to making something as monumental as this happen, Perseverance dropped down on the ‘little blue map dot’ exactly as planned.

Are the missions to Mars money well spent? Will we be watching the first human landing on Mars within our lifetime? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Sat 20 Feb, 2021 2:28 PM
That's a really good article there Silek Smile it'll be great to see the science we get from perseverance and ingenuity
Sun 21 Feb, 2021 1:29 PM
Great article Silek! Thumbs up

In this link:, NASA has an interactive map of its current position.
Sun 21 Feb, 2021 3:24 PM
Loved watching the landing last week. Was a really tense few minutes because there was literally nothing the control room staff could do except watch.
It's also great that Curiosity has a friend up there now
Sun 21 Feb, 2021 4:49 PM
Yes i also did my countdown to the second when it was time for its landing Smile
Sun 21 Feb, 2021 11:59 PM
Thanks everyone. I'm hoping we'll see more stories starting with the line, 'Today Perseverance discovered...'
Wed 03 Mar, 2021 2:45 AM
Good read!!! And to answer the questions posed: Yes it's money well spent! The fact that 4 different missions arrived at or around Mars this year within the space of a month, and only one of them coming from the US, shows that the rest of the world agrees.
And with Elon Musk stubbornly and sometimes cheecky but steady progress made with (by?) his SpaceX company i am sure he will achieve his goal of seeing humans set foot on Mars within his, and therefore our, lifetime. Even if only because NASA does not want to feel embarressed that an upstart rich nerdboy from South Africa beat them to a task that is almost literally their mission statement.