The six-wheeled Perseverance rover has reached the surface of mars, indicating the end of its seven-month journey from Earth to plunge into the atmosphere of Mars. It has put itself down safely on the Red Planet – a task that has befuddled so many spacecraft before it.
Key timings for Perseverance’s landing
- Contact with atmosphere: 20:48 GMT
- Parachute deployed: 20:52 GMT
- Powered descent: 20:54 GMT
- Wheels down: 20:55 GMT
Perseverance is the first rover to land since Curiosity touched down in 2012. Perseverance set down in the Jezero Crater, just north of Mars’ equator. Perseverance’s flashy new cameras are expected to have captured much of the landing process. A camera mounted on the back shell of the spacecraft is pointed upward. It recorded a view of the parachutes deploying as it slowed to land. Then, beneath it is a downward-pointing camera on the descent stage, which is supposed to have filmed its first touch-contact with the ground on Mars. This suite of technology will provide us with the most detailed video and photo records of landing on a neighboring world yet.