NASA confirmed Thursday that its Perseverance rover reached the surface of Mars after overcoming the dangerous descent phase on the red planet known as “the seven minutes of terror”.
“Touchdown confirmed,” said mission chief Swati Mohan at 15h55 US Eastern Time (20H55 GMT) after which the Propulsion Laboratory’s operations headquarters burst into applause.
The process itself had been completed more than 11 minutes earlier, the time it takes for the signal to return to Earth.
NASA posted on Perseverance’s Twitter account a black-and-white photo taken from the device, showing the grainy surface of Jezero crater in the northern hemisphere of Mars, which is the rover’s first photo of the red planet.
This vehicle is the fifth to land on Mars after a first successful mission in 1997. All the spacecraft that have achieved this so far have been U.S. projects.
The next step is to study this surface for the presence of microbial evidence that may have existed billions of years ago, when conditions in this area were warmer and wetter than they are today.
Over the next few months the vehicle will attempt to collect about 30 rocks and soil samples that will be sent back to Earth in the 2030s for analysis.
Together We Persevere
For the first time in history, NASA developed a live transmission in Spanish, aimed at the Spanish-speaking public, which not only had the accurate description of events inside the control rooms but also offered interviews with each of the team members who are part of the Hispanic community, moderated by the Colombian-born engineer, Diana Trujillo.
Translated by: José Espinoza