Perseverance leaves its first marks on Mars, plus other ‘firsts’ NASA has in store for rover

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NASA releases image of its Perseverance rover and the tire tracks it left on Mars

It’s been two weeks since NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover landed on the Red Planet. Since then, its team back on Earth has been busy celebrating a series of firsts.

That includes the rover’s first test drive and tire tracks on Mars Thursday.

“Our first drive went incredibly well,” said Anais Zarifian, Perseverance mobility test bed engineer. “You can see the wheel tracks that we left on Mars. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to see wheel tracks, and I’ve seen a lot of them.”

The rover is six-wheel drive and travels at 0.01 mph.

“This was just so amazing to see last night, and we’re really happy about this,” Robert Hogg, Perseverance Deputy Mission Manager, said during a stream on YouTube Friday afternoon.

The team said you’ll see a lot more driving around Mars from the rover in the months to come.

The rover has also tested out its steering, a number of cameras and its robotic arm during its first two weeks on the Red Planet.

Perseverance is equipped with a weather station that is already sending all kinds of information back to scientists.

It also did a little IT work and successfully completed a total software update after landing.

“We had to be very careful not to have any major problems because there’s no helpline to call or anyway that we can run over to the rover and press the big reset button,” Hogg said. “Getting it done was a big relief for the team.”

The rover is now working to send back images for scientists to analyze. Many of them are of different types of rocks. Information about those rocks will be presented by scientists next week.

Since landing on Feb. 18, Perseverance has already sent back 7,000 images, its first radio report and its first color panorama of its landing site.

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