“Hello, world. My first look at my forever home.”
With that, NASA’s Perseverance rover greeted its global audience on Twitter, beaming back to Earth the first image captured after touching down Thursday afternoon on Mars.
After a 293-million mile, 203-day journey, Perseverance arrived on Mars right on cue, its landing announced by mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California at 3:55 p.m. EST.
Dubbed a “robotic geologist and astrobiologist,” Perseverance will undergo several weeks of testing before it embarks on a two-year search for signs of life in Mars’ Jezero Crater, according to NASA.
Nearly 30 miles wide, Jezero Crater sits just north of the Martian equator. Scientists have determined that 3.5 billion years ago, the crater had its own river delta and was filled with water, which may have left behind traces of microbial life.
Perseverance also tweeted a view of the crater from its rear camera.
— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) February 18, 2021