NASA's Perseverance rover successfully lands on Mars in historic mission, sends back first images

Perseverance rover has become NASA's fifth rover to touch down on Mars after Sojourner, twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity and Curiosity. 

Created On: Feb 19, 2021 13:46 ISTModified On: Feb 19, 2021 15:26 IST
NASA's Perseverance sends back first image

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Perseverance rover landed successfully at Mars' Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021 after surviving a blazing seven-minute plunge through the Martian atmosphere, nearly seven months after its takeoff. 

Perseverance rover has become NASA's fifth rover to touch down on Mars after Sojourner, twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity and Curiosity. 

Perseverance will spend the coming years searching for signs of ancient microbial life on Mars in a historic mission. It will be the first mission that will bring back rock samples from Mars to Earth, paving the way for future manned missions. 

US President Joe Biden tweeted congratulating NASA and everyone whose hard work made Perseverance’s historic landing possible. He said that the historic feat proved once again that with the power of science and American ingenuity, nothing is beyond the realm of possibility.

Vice President Kamala Harris also tweeted congratulating NASA and all its partners on their successful mission. She said that the historic landing embodies the US' spirit of perseverance—building on past accomplishments and paving the way for future missions.

Perseverance's  first image of Mars

When was NASA's Perseverance rover launched?

NASA's Perseverance rover was launched on July 30, 2020. 

What is the main mission objective of the Perseverance rover?

Perseverance's main mission objective will be to search for signs of ancient microbial life and carefully collect selected rock and regolith (broken rock and dust) samples for a future return to Earth. 

The rover will characterise Mars' geology and climate and pave the way for human exploration beyond the Moon.

Perseverance is carrying along a technology experiment - the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter - which will attempt the first powered and controlled flight on another planet. 

Who is Dr. Swati Mohan?

Dr. Swati Mohan is the Indian American woman who led NASA's operation Perseverance rover landing on Mars. Dr. Mohan spearheaded the development of attitude control and the landing system for the rover.

Dr. Mohan was communicating and coordinating between the GN&C subsystem and the rest of the project's team while the historic landing was taking place. 

She is the lead systems engineer during the development process and also looks after the team and schedules the mission control staffing for GN&C.

The Indian American had emigrated from India to America when she was just one-year-old and she spent most of her childhood in the Northern Virginia-Washington DC metro area. 

While watching 'StarTrek' at the age of 9, she was astounded by the beautiful depictions of the new regions of the universe that they were exploring and immediately realised that she wanted to do that and "find new and beautiful places in the universe."

Dr. Mohan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University. She had completed her MS and Ph.D. from MIT in Aeronautics/Astronautics.

She was a part of NASA's Perseverance Rover mission since the beginning at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. 

She has also been a part of various important missions of NASA in the past such as Cassini (a mission to Saturn) and GRAIL (a pair of formation flown spacecraft to the Moon).

Background

Perseverance is NASA's fifth Mars rover and overall, it is the space agency's ninth Mars landing. It is also the largest, most advanced rover that NASA has sent to another world. It touched down on Mars after a 203-day journey traversing 472 million kilometers. 

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