The word 'perseverance' means to really stick with something, no matter the time or struggles involved. But for us space fans of the NASA rover Perseverance, there's been very little waiting around.
Sure, it did take six months to reach Mars, but since landing on February 18 Perseverance has gotten straight to work. And the data it is sharing with us is really cool.
This includes the first panorama—or 360° image—taken by the new rover. This type of image has been taken many times by the other rovers, Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity, but these vehicles were on different parts of the planet. Not to mention that thanks to modern technology and the internet, we're all able to see incredible hi-resolution images of Mars on the same day that they are taken by Perseverance.
Revisiting the landing
That said, the most fascinating thing about Perseverance's journey so far is still probably its landing. That day gave us some incredible sights and sounds as we watched the people at Mission Control await the news that the rover had landed safely.
It was really exciting to watch in real time. And as it turns out, it's even better to rewatch now thanks to a new video of the last four minutes of touchdown that was just released by NASA. The video uses multiple cameras to show the approach to the surface. You get to watch the heat shield being jettisoned to the surface (bye!); the parachute being pulled to slow the descent; the red dust swirling up from the surface; and the final successful landing.
Woohoo! Check it out now in this video.
So cool, right? One thing that we can't help but notice? The more we view these high quality images and videos from Perseverance, the more that Mars feels a lot like somewhere on Earth.
It isn't, of course. Its thin atmosphere would be toxic to us, the planet is freezing, and there's no life that we can see anywhere (yet!). But if nothing else, it feels remarkable to start seeing more of Mars from the perspective of someone there on its surface.
We can't wait to see what else Perseverance has to share us!