NASA’s Perseverance rover officially landed on Mars in February. Now that it’s there, it’s been taking some time to explore.
On March 4, NASA reported that the car-sized rover began moving around, propelling itself forward about 13 feet. It then turned around and backed up about 8 feet, for a total of 21 feet of movement. This is just the tip of the iceberg for the Martian ground that Perseverance is set to cover over the next two years.
I dont think Ive ever been happier to see wheel tracks and Ive seen a lot of them, said mobility testbed engineer Anais Zarifian. This is just a huge milestone for the mission and the mobility team. Weve driven on Earth, but driving on Mars is really the ultimate goal.
Perseverance won’t be moving too fast when it makes its way across Martian soil. In fact, its top speed is just 0.1 miles per hour. It doesn’t really need to focus on speed, though, since it will be taking photos, analyzing rocks, and scooping up soil for future tests.
The rover has already delivered thousands of photos since its Feb. 18 landing. NASA showed off a large high-resolution panorama image of the planet’s surface as well, of Jazero’s Delta, one of the sites Perseverance will be making its way toward soon.
Perseverance still has literal miles to go, but it’s already been capturing the hearts and minds of those looking to the stars. Rolling on toward the rest of its targets across the Martian surface may be slow-going, but we’ll be seeing a lot more of Mars very soon.