Backyard Observatory

NASA Released Stunning Images of the Perseverance Rover Landing on Mars

This is pretty amazing.

Perseverance mars images
NASA/JPL-Caltech

It has barely gotten to know its new home on the Martian surface. Yet, Perseverance is sending missives home already. 

Some of the first information relayed from NASA's new rover through spacecraft orbiting Mars and back to Earth was data that indicated the rover was healthy after its "seven minutes of terror" from the top of the planet's atmosphere to the surface. It has also sent back a couple of images. Friday night, NASA shared one that shows the rover landing. The image is from a video of the landing that has not yet been shared with the world.

The snapshot was taken from the descent stage of the spacecraft, which was part of the rover's final landing maneuvers. It lowered Perseverance to the Martian surface on tethers. Curiosity, the last rover to land on Mars, sent back a stop motion movie of its descent. Perseverance, on the other hand, has cameras that were intended to capture video of the touchdown. We'll get a peek at that soon.

In the weeks and months (and years!) to come, we'll get more familiar with Perseverance and all it is capable of telling us about Mars. We can, however, get excited about the imaging capabilities right now. "The majority of Perseverance's cameras capture images in color," NASA says. "After landing, two of the Hazard Cameras (Hazcams) captured views from the front and rear of the rover, showing one of its wheels in the Martian dirt." You can see an image from that angle here as well. 

Images of mars
NASA/JPL-Caltech

We're also getting an image from orbit. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter used a special high-resolution camera to get a glimpse of the spacecraft carrying Perseverance plunging toward Jezero Crater, where Perseverance will live out its days.  

There's a lot to learn and a lot to see in the coming months. Ingenuity, the helicopter stowed underneath the rover, won't be released for one to two months, and it'll be longer still before the rover's science mission is fully underway, according to NASA. It's already giving glimpses of how impressive this journey will be, and there's still a lot to look forward to. 

PErseverance rover mars images
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
Mars rover images Perseverance
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Ready to go stargazing?

Here are all the best stargazing events that you can get out and see this month or you could stay in a stream the northern lights from home. If you're just getting started, check out our guide to astronomy for beginners, the best meteor showers of 2021, or easy stargazing road trips from big US cities

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin Nelson on Twitter.
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