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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter camera spotted Mars rover Perseverance after landing – Spaceflight Now

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE camera took this picture of the Perseverance rover on February 24. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona

A high-resolution camera from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spotted the Mars rover Perseverance after landing on the Red Planet last month, showing a nuclear robot perched on the surface of Mars with a supersonic parachute and other components of the landing system scattered nearby.

The MRO, or HiRISE, high-resolution imaging science experiment captures views of the Perseverance rover in Jezero Crater on multiple passages above the landing site after the Red Planet’s arrival on February 18. An image from HiRISE taken on February 24 shows the rover and its surroundings in a false color, with marks on the Martian surface carved by Perseverance retro rockets just before touching.

The HiRISE instrument is the most powerful camera ever sent to another planet. Developed at the University of Arizona, the camera features a telescope and is used to map the Martian surface, study the geology of the planet and reconnoiter landing sites for future missions.

The MRO captured the Permanence image on Feb. 24 from a distance of about 180 miles (290 kilometers), according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The rover measures about 10 feet by 9 feet (3 by 2.7 meters).

The supersonic parachute and rear hull of the 70.5-foot-wide (21.5-meter) Perseverance rover. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona

The Mars orbiter also spotted the rover’s parachute a few miles northwest of Perseverance’s landing site. The parachute, deployed after the rover entered the atmosphere, slowed the spacecraft to subsonic speeds. This was followed by the ejection of the spacecraft’s heat shield, which landed on the surface of Mars. Its wreckage was located east of the rover’s landing site.

About a minute before touching, the parachute and the upper part of the rover’s hull, called the rear shell, are released and a jet package aimed at permanence over the rest of the surface. Eight variable-thrust rocket engines removed the rest of the rover’s vertical speed, and the robot descended below the three-nylon reins stage.

Permanence touched his six wheels, and the descent phase cut him off from the rover and flew northwest in a diversion maneuver to escape a safe distance from the rover. The location of the impact on the descent stage can also be seen in the images of MRO HiRISE.

Perseverance is on a $ 2.7 billion mission to investigate whether the site of Crater Lake, which once had a lake of liquid water, was once inhabited by ancient life forms on Mars. The rover landed near sediments deposited by a dried-up river that flowed into the lake by the lake, and scientists plan to persevere on the delta to collect rock samples for a possible return to Earth.

This first image of NASA’s Perseverance spacecraft on the surface of Mars from a high-resolution camera (HiRISE) aboard NASA’s Mars Intelligence Orbit (MRO) shows the many parts of the Mars 2020 mission landing system that have provided the rover on the ground. The image was taken on February 19, 2021. This annotated version of the image indicates the location of the parachute and the rear shell, the descent stage, the rover Perseverance and the heat shield. Each insert shows an area of ​​about 200 meters in diameter. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona

The monotonous Mars rover also carries instruments for tracking Martian weather, measuring the composition of rocks, and has the first microphone and zoom camera that flies to the Red Planet.

Permanence also has a tool to demonstrate the production of oxygen from carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere, an ability that could help future human space travelers.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1.

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