While humans have been struggling to control the Covid-19 pandemic, baking in record heat, and trying to figure out how not to run out of water, our spacecraft on Mars have been enjoying a rather more tranquil existence.
(Not needing to breathe helps.) Parked on the Martian surface, the InSight lander is listening for marsquakes, while the Perseverance rover is rolling around in search of life.
This week, scientists are dropping an Olympus Mons of findings from the two brave robots. In three papers published today in the journal Science—each authored by dozens of scientists from around the world—researchers detail the clever ways they used InSight’s seismometer to peer deep into the Red Planet, giving them an unprecedented understanding of its crust, mantle, and core.
It’s the first time scientists have mapped the interior of a planet other than Earth. And yesterday, another group of scientists held a press conference to announce early research results from Perseverance, and the next steps the rover will take to explore the surface of Jezero Crater, once a lake that could have been home to ancient microbial life.
The first helicopter on Mars is officially on Martian soil.
NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity touched down on the surface of the Red Planet after being dropped by its mother ship, the Perseverance rover, the space agency announced late Saturday (April 3). The helicopter’s first flight is just over a week away.
The robot has barely moved from its landing spot, but it’s sending back a steady stream of visual data that’s freely available for anyone to play with.
The Mars 2020 Perseverance rover landed in Jezero Crater on the red planet less than two weeks ago, but the advanced robot has already sent back some of the most memorable motion pictures in history.
Cameras on the rover and the descent module that carried it through the Martian atmosphere documented the last few minutes of the long journey from Earth in a remarkable and spectacular way. With the dramatic landing out of the way, the far more chill but no less intriguing task of exploring the surface begins.
UK filmmaker Sean Doran has taken some of the first images taken by Perseverance from within Jezero Crater and processed them to create This is Mars, a short film that’s one of the most captivating 30-minute panning shots you’ll ever see.