Yesterday at 3:43pm EST, NASA's Perseverance rover touched down on the surface of Mars, we found out it did ~12 minutes later at 3:55pm EST.
NASA's Perseverance rover is their 5th one to land successfully on the Martian surface, the second one to utilize the rocket-powered Skycrane method, Curiosity being the first. Not only does this rover have new modern technologies onboard to gather more data for scientists, it also has a suite of 19 video cameras with microphones, capturing the entire Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) of the rover for the first time. While this footage will be brought to us sometime in the next week, that didn't stop Perseverance from sending some breathtaking views of its landing site.
These are just the first of thousands of images that Perseverance will send back to Earth over the 2-year duration of its mission, but why did we send another rover to Mars?
Perseverance joined the iconic Curiosity rover on Mars yesterday, while being relatively similar in size and shape, Perseverance carries a lot more modern equipment on board, helping scientists dig deeper into the history of this planet. Both rovers are also in different areas of the planet, roughly 3,800km away from each other, looking for signs of life in major geological features thought to have contained large amounts of water in the past. A lot of the upgrades done to Perseverance are changes based on hard lessons learned by Curiosity's long trek on the Martian surface, such as upgraded wheels so it doesn't get stuck like Curiosity did in 2014.
Perseverance's first drive around will be on Sol 8 after deploying its mast and making sure all systems are still good to be used after EDL. More information, imagery, and footage will be released during the next press conference Monday @ 2pm EST on NASA JPL's YouTube channel.