NASA. Astronomy Picture of the Day. Perseverance Sol 354

Perseverance Sol 354
Image Credit: NASAJPL-CaltechProcessingKenneth Kremer

This Navcam mosaic from Perseverance looks out over the car-sized rover’s deck, across the floor of Jezero crater on Mars. Frames used to construct the mosaic view were captured on mission sol 354. That corresponds to Earth calendar date February 17, 2022, nearly one Earth year after the rover’s landing. With a mass of over 1,000 kilograms, six-wheeled Perseverance is the heaviest rover to touch down on Mars. During its first year of exploration the rover has collected six (so far) rock core samples for later return to planet Earth, served as the base station for Ingenuity, the first helicopter on Mars, and tested MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment), converting some of the Red Planet’s thin, carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere into oxygen.

Perseverance, nicknamed Percy, is a car-sized Mars rover designed to explore the crater Jezero on Mars as part of NASA‘s Mars 2020 mission. It was manufactured by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and launched on 30 July 2020, at 11:50 UTC. Confirmation that the rover successfully landed on Mars was received on 18 February 2021, at 20:55 UTC. As of 26 February 2022, Perseverance has been active on Mars for 363 sols (373 Earth days) since its landing. Following the rover’s arrival, NASA named the landing site Octavia E. Butler Landing.

Perseverance has a similar design to its predecessor rover, Curiosity, from which it was moderately upgraded. It carries seven primary payload instruments, nineteen cameras, and two microphones.[8] The rover also carried the mini-helicopter Ingenuity to Mars, an experimental aircraft and technology showcase that made the first powered flight on another planet on 19 April 2021.To date, Ingenuity has made 19 flights.

The rover’s goals include identifying ancient Martian environments capable of supporting life, seeking out evidence of former microbial life existing in those environments, collecting rock and soil samples to store on the Martian surface, and testing oxygen production from the Martian atmosphere to prepare for future crewed missions.