Backyard Observatory

NASA Just Shared the First Photos from Its Mars Perseverance Rover

The groundbreaking rover made a safe landing Thursday afternoon.

Courtesy of NASA

NASA announced some great news from the red planet on Thursday: It's groundbreaking Perseverance rover landed safely on the surface of Mars after successfully pulling off a much-anticipated—and nail-biting—maneuver. Seconds later, the incredible news was followed with even more to celebrate, when the space agency received the first images from the rover's cameras.

Wow, that was quick.

Perseverance—about the size of a car—touched down right on target in the Jezero Crater at about human walking speed after a harrowing, supersonic descent through the Martian atmosphere and its six-and-a-half-month journey through space from Earth. Once the rover is settled in, it'll conduct a series of health checks over the coming weeks and begin its historic two-year science mission to find traces of life in the crater's ancient lakebed. NASA said the landing also marks the first step in its efforts to collect samples of the surface to bring back to Earth.

But first and foremost, Perseverance snapped some photos of the Martian surface, or as the rover's official Twitter account put it, "my new forever home."

"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,” acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk said in a statement. "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."

It's safe to say these are just the first of many, many additional photos Perseverance will transmit back to Earth as it sets off on its Martian journey.

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Tony Merevick is the Managing Editor at Thrillist. Follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick and Instagram @tonymerevick.
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