NASA’s Perseverance rover lands on Mars
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After almost seven long months of space travel, Perseverance has finally made it to Mars. After a successful entry into the Martian atmosphere, the Perseverance Rover touched down on the surface of the Red Planet following what NASA has previously described as “seven minutes of terror”.
The rover landed in the Jezero Crater, an ancient river basin where it will now begin searching for ancient signs of life.
NASA engineers were “anxious” as the rover approached the atmosphere, but the mission ended in success.
Ground control can be heard saying shortly after touchdown: “This is so exciting. This is so surreal.”
A host on NASA TV added: “We now have confirmation that Perseverance has touched down on the surface of Mars.”
The first images were quickly beamed back to Earth, which were greeted with a round of applause from the mission centre.
NASA said: “Cheers erupted in mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as controllers confirmed that NASA’s Perseverance rover, with the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter attached to its belly, has touched down safely on Mars.
“Engineers are analyzing the data flowing back from the spacecraft.”
The space agency added on Twitter: “Touchdown confirmed. The #CountdownToMars is complete, but the mission is just beginning.”
With only 40 percent of all Mars missions ending in failure, there was anxiety creeping through ground control.
However, as the lead engineer read out a list of milestones of Perseverance as it broke through the atmosphere, confidence began to build.
Cheers were slowly growing until the touchdown of Perseverance caused the room to erupt.
Mike Watkins, director of NASA’s JPL said: “It’s the biggest and best rover we have ever sent to Mars.
“This is the first step in a Mars sample return.
“Not only is it doing its own mission, but it is setting us up for future missions and to bring those samples back.”
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