One of the images shows the rover during its landing suspended by a parachute during the “seven minutes of terror” which were the final and extremely risky moments of its 300 million mile journey.
During the landing flight, controllers had to wait helplessly as the preprogrammed spacecraft hit the thin Martian atmosphere at 12,100mph or 16 times the speed of sound, slowing as it plummeted.It was a nail-biting 11 and half minutes before Nasa was able to confirm the rover had landed safely with all of its major functions working as expected.
The American space agency is planning on releasing more detailed images and videos over the next few days.
Perseverance has significantly better cameras than 2011’s Curiosity rover and NASA are hoping to get a full video of the descent into the crater.
Unlike with past rovers, the majority of Perseverance’s cameras capture images in color.
After landing, two of the cameras captured views from the front and rear of the rover, showing one of its wheels in the Martian dirt.
Over the next two years, Percy, as the rover is nicknamed, will use its seven-foot arm to drill down and collect rock samples containing possible signs of bygone microscopic life.
Three to four dozen chalk-size samples will be sealed in tubes and set aside to be retrieved eventually by another rover and brought homeward by another rocket ship.
The goal is to get them back to Earth as early as 2031.
Hours after the landing, Matt Wallace, Nasa deputy project manager, reported that the spacecraft was in great shape and was ready to carry out its mission.
Perseverance is aiming to find a place in the next two months to drop off Ingenuity, the mini-helicopter attached to the rover’s belly.