Change of plans – Mars Perseverance rover takes two drives

This image was taken during the first drive of NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars on March 4, 2021. Perseverance landed on Feb. 18, 2021, and the team has been spending the weeks since landing checking out the rover to prepare for surface operations. This image was taken by the rover’s Navigation Cameras. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

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.”

This set of images shows parts of the robotic arm on NASA’s Perseverance rover flexing and turning during its first checkout after landing on Mars. These images were taken by Perseverance’s Navigation Cameras on March 3, 2021. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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.

NASA JPL March, 5, 2021 press briefing. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Touchdown site named “Octavia E. Butler Landing”

NASA has named the landing site of the agency’s Perseverance rover after the science fiction author Octavia E. Butler, as seen in this image from the High Resolution Imaging Experiment camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
NASA has named the landing site of the agency’s Perseverance rover after the science fiction author Octavia E. Butler, as seen in this image from the High Resolution Imaging Experiment camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

“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.'”

About Marc Boucher

Marc Boucher
Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive Inc. Boucher has 20 years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 28 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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