Astronomy and Space

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Drives on Mars for the First Time

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on March 6, 2021, announced through a press release that it’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover has already performed its first drive on the Red Planet. The said drive was conducted as a mobility test.

According to NASA, Perseverance’s first drive on Mars happened on March 4, 2021 and it lasted for about thirty-tree (33) minutes. The drive covered 21.3 feet (6.5 meters); the rover propelled forward 13 feet (4 meters) and is backed up 8 feet (2.5 meters), making its way to its new temporary parking space.

Screenshot Source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory| Official YouTube Channel

“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. 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.”

– Anais Zarifian, Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mobility testbed engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

‘Firsts’ Achieved by NASA’s Perseverance

A teleconference called the ‘Firsts’ Achieved Since NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Landing (News Audio + Visuals) was streamed live at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)’s official YouTube channel just recently. Among the speakers during the teleconference is Robert Hogg, Perseverance deputy mission manager, JPL.

“Everything is going very well on our latest mission to Mars. Perseverance has been doing an exceptional job during her first two weeks on the Red Planet. One of the great things about the beginning days of this mission is all the things that happen for the very first time every day,” Hogg said.

One of Perseverance’s ‘firsts’ includes its very first drive on Mars. Here was how Anais Zarifian described NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover’s first drive.

“Our plan, which was executed perfectly, was to first drive four (4) meters forward, that’s about thirteen (13) feet; make a hundred fifty (150)- degree turn to the left, counter clockwise; and then back up about two and a half (2.5) meters, about eight feet. Our First drive went incredibly well. This is just a huge milestone for the mission and the mobility team.”

– Anais Zarifian, Perseverance mobility testbed engineer, JPL

According to Zarifian, this is just the beginning. Looking ahead, she said, “we’re gonna do some longer drives.” Here is the video of the teleconference for you to see firsthand:

Related Article:

Touchdown! The Perseverance has landed on Mars | First Photo Taken

Listen to the First Sounds Captured by NASA from Mars

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Source: NASA| Website, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory| Official YouTube Channel

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