Day by day, NASA seems to be getting better at uncovering the secrets of Mars. The Perseverance rover will provide a lot of help for such an ambitious quest, having the main goal of finding traces of microbial life on the Red Planet. The rover has been travelling for a long time through space until its touchdown in the Jezero crater of Mars on February 18: almost six months.
CNET.com reveals that during its first tentative steps on Mars, the Perseverance rover rolled forward from the landing spot 13 feet, it turned in place 150 degrees towards the left, backed up 8 feet, and took a picture of its tracks on the surface.
Five times faster than Curiosity
In a new press conference, NASA scientists have shown the first actions of their Perseverance rover on Mars:
According to mobility test bed engineer Anais Zarifian, the rover can move about five times faster than Curiosity. The latter is another rover about the size of a car that was sent to Mars ten years ago to explore the Gale crater as part of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission.
NASA announced that the landing site of the Perseverance rover on the surface of Mars has a new name: the Octavia E. Butler Landing Site. Kathryn Stack Morgan, who’s the deputy project scientist for Perseverance, declared:
Butler’s protagonists embody determination and inventiveness, making her a perfect fit for the Perseverance rover mission and its theme of overcoming challenges.
Morgan also added:
Butler inspired and influenced the planetary science community and many beyond, including those typically under-represented in STEM fields.
The Perseverance rover is part of NASA’s Mars 2020 program, and the helicopter drone Ingenuity is also included in the mission. An Atlas V launch vehicle carried all the gear of the ambitious mission to the Red Planet, with the lift-off taking place last year on July 20.