“Touchdown Confirmed!” NASA’s Perseverance Rover lands on Mars

The exciting new mars rover will pave the way for future exploration of our solar system and beyond.


Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

On February 18th, 2021, at 12:55 pm, NASA’s Perseverance Rover made history when it landed on the surface of Mars. After making the 293 million-mile journey from Earth to Mars, the rover touched down at Jezero Crater using its daring entry, descent, and landing system. The mission launched on July 30th, 2020, and has been migrating to Mars ever since. To learn more details about the rover, read the article “NASA’s Newest Mars Rover, Perseverance, is About to Land”. This article covers the scientific instruments and interesting features of NASA’s Mars rover, Perseverance.

The landing went as well as it could have gone, with the rover landing safely inside of its around 4 square mile landing zone, the smallest of any object to land on Mars. Perseverance did this with 2 automated systems, one of which deployed the parachute at a certain altitude in order to guide itself to the landing zone, and the other which, utilized a series of cameras and the rocket jetpack that Perseverance has, to steer itself to a more scientifically desired and safer landing. The automated system selected a target for landing, and when touchdown came, Perseverance was less than 5 meters from the automated system’s target.

The only letdown during Perseverance’s landing was the fact that the onboard microphones weren’t able to pick up sound during the landing sequence. However, nearly every camera recording Perseverance’s entry, descent, and landing worked, and the teams and NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Where Perseverance was built), compiled these historic clips together into this video:


(Video Credit: NASA/ JPL)


A few notes on the video above.

You may have noticed that there is no fire coming out of the rocket jetpack. This is because the fuel those engines use output clear gasses. However, those engines are on the entire way down. Also, when the rover is lowered from the jetpack, there are 4 cables coming down. 3 of those cables hold the over 2 thousand pound rover, and that 4th spiral cable is the communications and data cable. The video that you are watching from the rocket-powered jetpack will be sent through that cable before the jetpack speeds off to crash-land far away from the rover. Over 5 thousand images have been sent down from the rover that you can view here, as well as a 360-degree panorama that is available here.

In the days following Perseverance’s landing, the rover’s numerous instruments will check-in, confirming that they are working correctly. This checklist includes the Ingenuity helicopter, Perseverance’s computers, cooling system, every scientific tool and experiment, and countless other systems. Once these checkouts are done, the rover will then begin its multi-year scientific journey across the Martian surface.