Perseverance takes image of its landing on the Martian surface

NASA’s Perseverance rover has captured a high-resolution image taken during its successful landing on the surface of Mars on February 19, 2021 (February 18 in the United States).

Perseverance’s cameras captured video of its touchdown and this new still image was taken from that footage, which is still being relayed to Earth and undergoing processing.

A camera aboard the descent stage captured this image.

Engineers and scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California are now hard at work, awaiting the next transmissions from Perseverance.

As data gradually came in, relayed by several spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet, the Perseverance team were relieved to see the rover’s health reports, which showed everything appeared to be working as expected.

Unlike with past NASA rovers, the majority of Perseverance’s cameras capture images in colour.

After landing, two of the Hazard Cameras (Hazcams) captured views from the front and rear of the rover, showing one of its wheels in the Martian soil.

Perseverance got a close-up from NASA’s eye in the sky, as well: NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance. Orbiter, which used a special high-resolution camera to capture the spacecraft sailing into Jezero Crater, with its parachute trailing behind.

The High Resolution Camera Experiment (HiRISE) camera did the same for NASA’s Curiosity rover in 2012.

JPL leads the orbiter’s mission, while the HiRISE instrument is led by the University of Arizona.

Several pyrotechnic charges were expected to fire on February 19, releasing Perseverance’s mast (the “head” of the rover) from where it is fixed on the rover’s deck.

The Navigation Cameras (Navcams), which are used for driving, share space on the mast with two science cameras: the zoomable Mastcam-Z and a laser instrument called SuperCam.

The mast is scheduled to be raised on February 20, after which the Navcams are expected to take panoramas of the rover’s deck and its surroundings.

In the days to come, NASA engineers will pore over the rover’s system data, updating its software and beginning to test its various instruments.