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Historic! NASA Mars Rover Perseverance Successfully Lands on The Red Planet, Sends First Image

The rover touched down at around 3:55 p.m. ET, after executing a daring and dramatic landing that had been nicknamed the "seven minutes of terror." 

Updated: February 19, 2021 8:51 AM IST

By News Desk | Edited by Ritu Singh

Historic! NASA Mars Rover Perseverance Successfully Lands on The Red Planet, Sends First Image
First photo NASA's Perseverance rover beamed back to Earth after it landed on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. (Image credit: NASA)

NASA Mars Rover landing: In a historic Mars landing, The American space agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has successfully landed its Perseverance rover in a deep crater near the planet Mars’ equator called Jezero. The rover touched down at around 3:55 p.m. ET, ( around 2:30 am on Friday in India) after executing a daring and dramatic landing that had been nicknamed the “seven minutes of terror.” “Touchdown confirmed,” Swati Mohan, the lead guidance and operations specialist announced from the control room.

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The robotic vehicle sailed through space for nearly seven months, covering 293 million miles (472 million km) before piercing the Martian atmosphere at 12,000 miles per hour (19,000 km per hour) to begin its approach to touchdown on the planet’s surface.

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“Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars.” Engineers at NASA’s mission control in California erupted with joy when confirmation of touchdown came through. “The good news is the spacecraft, I think, is in great shape,” said Matt Wallace, the mission’s deputy project manager.

“We are in a nice flat spot. The vehicle is only tilted by about 1.2 degrees,” said Allen Chen, who led the landing team. “So we did successfully find that parking lot and have a safe rover on the ground. And I couldn’t be more proud of my team for doing that.”

With this, Perseverance has become the fifth NASA rover ever to touch down on Mars after Sojourner — twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity and Curiosity, the US space agency said.

Just moments after touchdown, Perseverance beamed back two first black-and-white images of its new home in Jezero Crater.

“Hello, world. My first look at my forever home,” it wrote.

What lies ahead?

“Perseverance will spend the coming years scouring for signs of ancient microbial life in a historic mission that will bring back samples from Mars to Earth and prepare the way for future human visitors”, NASA said. The six-wheeled vehicle will now spend at least the next two years drilling into the local rocks, looking for evidence of past life. Jezero is thought to have held a giant lake billions of years ago. And where there’s been water, there’s the possibility there might also have been life.

The rover will spend the next few days taking pictures of its surroundings as mission controllers on Earth monitor the health of the spacecraft and its instruments. Engineers will then upload new flight software so that Perseverance can get to work.

Congratulatory messages pour in

World leaders on Friday congratulated NASA  for the successful landing of Mars rover ‘Perseverance’ on the Red Planet.

The United States President shared a photograph of himself where he was seen wearing a mask, standing in front of a television in the oval office, watching NASA’s historic Perseverance rover’s landing . “Congratulations to NASA and everyone whose hard work made Perseverance’s historic landing possible. Today proved once again that with the power of science and American ingenuity, nothing is beyond the realm of possibility,” US President Joe Biden tweeted


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Published Date: February 19, 2021 8:45 AM IST

Updated Date: February 19, 2021 8:51 AM IST