The Mars Perseverance rover systems checked out just fine, thank you very much, so mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab took it for a short drive, and planned another for late yesterday and today.
“When it comes to wheeled vehicles on other planets, there are few first-time events that measure up in significance to that of the first drive,” said Anais Zarifian, Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mobility test bed engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “This was our first chance to ‘kick the tires’ and take Perseverance out for a spin. The rover’s six-wheel drive responded superbly. We are now confident our drive system is good to go, capable of taking us wherever the science leads us over the next two years.”
The rover completed its first 33 minute drive on Mars March 4 travelling 6.5 meters. The drive tested the mobility systems. After all the mobility tests are complete, mission controllers are planning to do a regular drives 200 meters.
Touchdown site named “Octavia E. Butler Landing”
“With Perseverance departing from its touchdown site, mission team scientists have memorialized the spot, informally naming it for the late science fiction author Octavia E. Butler. The groundbreaking author and Pasadena, California, native was the first African American woman to win both the Hugo Award and Nebula Award, and she was the first science fiction writer honored with a MacArthur Fellowship. The location where Perseverance began its mission on Mars now bears the name “Octavia E. Butler Landing.'”