The NASA Perseverance rover made a successful landing on Mars after travelling approximately 300 million miles from Earth. The journey began more than six months ago, and despite several challenges including the Covid-19 pandemic, the rover confirmed its arrival on the Red Planet on Thursday evening, reported CNN. Nicknamed Percy, the spacecraft sent back home its first pictures of landing at the Jezero Crater, soon after touchdown.
“This landing is one of those pivotal moments for NASA, the United States, and space exploration globally – when we know we are on the cusp of discovery and sharpening our pencils, so to speak, to rewrite the textbooks,” shared acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk.
He added, “The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission embodies our nation’s spirit of persevering even in the most challenging of situations, inspiring, and advancing science and exploration. The mission itself personifies the human ideal of persevering toward the future and will help us prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet in the 2030s.”
— NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) February 18, 2021
International leaders and prominent public personalities congratulated NASA on the successful mission. US President Joe Biden tweeted, “Congratulations to NASA and everyone whose hard work made Perseverance’s historic landing possible. Today proved once again that with the power of science and American ingenuity, nothing is beyond the realm of possibility.”
Congratulations to NASA and everyone whose hard work made Perseverance’s historic landing possible. Today proved once again that with the power of science and American ingenuity, nothing is beyond the realm of possibility. pic.twitter.com/NzSxW6nw4k
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 18, 2021
Perseverance has a list of exciting adventures ahead. According to the news publication, the rover will explore Jezero Crater, the site of an ancient lake that existed 3.9 billion years ago, and search for microfossils in the rocks and soil. Follow-up missions are expected to send back samples of the pictures and information collected by Perseverance to Earth by the 2030s. Following this, an experiment to fly a helicopter on another planet for the first time is in works too. Speaking about the same,Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, mentioned, “Because of today’s exciting events, the first pristine samples from carefully documented locations on another planet are another step closer to being returned to Earth.” He added, “Perseverance is the first step in bringing back rock and regolith from Mars. We don’t know what these pristine samples from Mars will tell us. But what they could tell us is monumental – including that life might have once existed beyond Earth.”