Space

NASA releases 360–degree panorama of Perseverance rover landing site

NASA releases 360–degree panor...
The first 360-degree panorama captured by Perseverance's mast-mounted cameras showing the Jezero Crater landing site
The first 360-degree panorama captured by Perseverance's mast-mounted cameras showing the Jezero Crater landing site
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The first 360-degree panorama captured by Perseverance's mast-mounted cameras showing the Jezero Crater landing site
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The first 360-degree panorama captured by Perseverance's mast-mounted cameras showing the Jezero Crater landing site
The panorama, highlighting the detail captured of the Martian surface by the Perseverance rover's mast-mounted cameras
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The panorama, highlighting the detail captured of the Martian surface by the Perseverance rover's mast-mounted cameras
A section of the new panorama showing the rim of Jezero Crater in the far distance
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A section of the new panorama showing the rim of Jezero Crater in the far distance
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NASA has released the first HD 360-degree panorama taken by the Perseverance rover's mast-mounted cameras since it touched down on the Red Planet on Feb. 18, 2021 . The composite image, which was captured on the third Martian day of the mission (Sol 3), is the first of many that the rover will take as it unravels the secrets still harbored by the Red Planet.

Putting a rover on Mars is a monumentally difficult task, even for the greatest minds that our planet has to offer. Years of hard work and hundreds of millions of dollars went into the design, construction and launch of the next-generation robotic explorer. Its mission – after surviving the rigors of launch, a protracted journey through the frigid environment of space, and the terrors of landing – is to explore an impact site known as Jezero Crater in search of signs of ancient life.

Following the release of high-resolution still images of the rover's and the dramatic video footage from which it was taken, the latest missive from Mars is a HD panorama of the Jezero Crater landing site that was stitched together from shots captured by the uncrewed explorer on Feb. 20, 2021.

A grand total of 142 images were captured by the rover’s zoomable Mastcam–Z camera system and combined to create the collage. In the coming years, the cameras will be used to take detailed, high-resolution shots of atmospheric conditions and rocks on the barren planet’s surface that may harbor clues as to whether life once existed on Mars. Some of the samples identified by the mast-mounted cameras will also be packaged up and left for future missions to return to Earth for a laboratory analysis.

The panorama, highlighting the detail captured of the Martian surface by the Perseverance rover's mast-mounted cameras
The panorama, highlighting the detail captured of the Martian surface by the Perseverance rover's mast-mounted cameras

The mast-mounted cameras are capable of revealing details in the Martian landscape near the rover that are no bigger than 3 to 5 mm across, while terrain features in the distance, such as the crater rim can be seen down to a width of 6.5 to 10 ft (2 to 3 m).

Over the coming years Perseverance will take many panoramas of the Red Planet. But it wont explore alone. One of the most exciting highlights of the coming mission will be the launch of the Ingenuity helicopter, which, if all goes to plan, will become the first aircraft to undertake a powered flight above the Martian surface when it lifts off later this year.

The helicopter, which recently sent a signal to NASA assuring its handlers that it was in good health, will briefly provide a new perspective of the Martian surface, and serve as a technology demonstrator for future aerial robotic exploration of Mars.

Source: NASA

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3 comments
Chris Coles
We have to hope that the Perseverance team will learn from one of the primary mistakes; made by the Curiosity team, who concentrated on panorama images; when the real need was to take close up images of the ground upon which their rover stands . . . and then learn to interpretate . . . what they are looking at; close up images of the geology of Mars.
williamedavis
We have discovered life on Mars--We Are Now The Martians!
BlueOak
Wait. So the China rover reached Mars orbit a few days before the NASA rover. But the China rover will sit in orbit for another several months before finally attempting to land in May or June? Seems like that many extra orbits only puts the China rover at more risk of damage from space debris. Granted, there shouldn’t be much earth-made space junk there. And the China rover sits idle in its cocoon for an extra 3-4 months, aging. Whilst the planned lifetime of the China rover is 90 days once deployed?

Meanwhile Perseverance has not only landed, but is sending back photos. Admittedly premature to proclaim the mission a complete success.

Perhaps if China needs that many orbits to find a safe landing site, they could contract with Perseverance to find a cushy spot to finally land.