In the short time since NASA’s Perseverance rover landed in Mars’ Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021, it’s already made history.
At the moment, Mars and the Earth are on opposite sides of the Sun, and the two planets cannot communicate with each other. After working nonstop for the past 216 Martian days, the science teams are taking the first real break since the mission started.
Perseverance has tested out all of its engineering capabilities, driven 1.6 miles (2.6 kilometers) over rough terrain and taken tens of thousands of photos with its 19 cameras. Of all of these incredible successes, there are three major milestones that we’re particularly excited about: collecting the first rock core samples, flying the Ingenuity helicopter and publishing our first scientific results about the Jezero Crater delta.
Melissa Rice is an Associate Professor of Planetary Science at WWU and a science team member of the last three Mars Rover missions.