Perseverance Celebrates 1st Martian Anniversary
NASA’s Perseverance rover has been on Mars for just over a year now, and it shows no signs of slowing down, even after setting a new record of its own.
The little nuclear-powered, six-wheeled robot landed on the Red Planet on 18 February 2021, and since then, it has conducted several experiments – including the launch of a tiny helicopter – during its scientific mission to search for signs of life.
On 14 February, the Mars rover had travelled over 320 metres in just one day, setting a new milestone by an automaton on another planet. To make the feat more incredible, it achieved this thanks to self-driving software – AutoNav – that plots paths around obstacles.
Not bad for a metal craft barely weighing over a kilogram and located more than 384 million kilometres away from Earth.
Perseverance is currently carrying six rock samples from the Jezero Crater which scientists believe contained water 3.5 billion years ago. It is expected to collect two more samples that could give a clearer idea of how old the 45-kilometre-wide crater is.
A mission to retrieve what Perseverance collected and return it safely to Earth is planned for the early 2030s.