The Perseverance science team reported this past weekend that all systems on the rover have so far reported back and are operating as expected, including the test helicopter Ingenuity.
Some more images were sent back, all visible at the Perseverance raw image website. The most spectacular new image of Perseverance released however was one taken by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and posted below.
Click for full image.
The photo above is reduced to post here, and gives us an oblique view of Jezero Crater. The inset shows the parachute with the rover/Sky Crane hanging from it. From the image’s caption:
[MRO] was approximately 700 kilometers (435 miles) from Perseverance at the time of the image and traveling at about 3 kilometers per second (6,750 mph). The extreme distance and high speeds of the two spacecraft were challenging conditions that required precise timing and for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to both pitch upward and roll hard to the left so that Perseverance was viewable by [MRO] at just the right moment.
I have added a red dot to show the spot where the rover finally landed. Directly to the west of that dot is the large delta feature that made Jezero Crater the prime landing spot. The two overhead MRO images to the right will help my readers pick out the features in the oblique view above.
The rover’s future route to get up onto that delta will skirt its southern edge and aim for a long ramp that can be seen due south of the large crater on the delta. The distance to that ramp is several miles, so don’t expect Perseverance to reach it for at least three to four years.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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