NASA’s Perseverance rover has landed on Mars after a 470-million-km trip from Earth.
The space agency’s 6-wheeled robot managed to survive the ‘seven minutes of terror’ as it entered the Marian atmosphere and landed on the surface.
“Touchdown confirmed! Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking signs of past life,” said flight controller Swati Mohan.
The rover landed at the Jezero Crater, a former lake that was home to water more than 3 billion years ago. Experts believe they might find signs of extraterrestrial life in the area.
It is also joined by a helicopter named Ingenuity, which will take on the first powered flight on another planet.
“Perseverance is tasked with searching for tell-tale signs that microbial life may have lived on Mars billions of years ago,” NASA said.
“It will collect rock core samples in metal tubes, and future missions would return these samples to Earth for deeper study.”
Ken Williford, Deputy Project Scientist for the MARS 2020 Perseverance Rover Mission, said: “We expect the best places to look for biosignatures would be in Jezero’s lakebed or in shoreline sediments that could be encrusted with carbonate minerals, which are especially good at preserving certain kinds of fossilized life on Earth.
“But as we search for evidence of ancient microbes on an ancient alien world, it’s important to keep an open mind.”
The rover shared a couple of photos of the Red Planet on Twitter.
“Hello, word,” NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover wrote on Twitter. “My first look at my forever home #CountdownToMars.”
In another post, the rover tweeted: “And another look behind me. Welcome to Jezero Crater.”
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