The image you see above was taken just moments before NASA’s Perseverance rover successfully landed on the surface of Mars, and it’s just the first of many high-resolution photos to come. NASA pulled the image from a video of the rover’s descent that is in the process of being transmitted to Earth. “This shot from a camera on my ‘jetpack’ captures me in midair, just before my wheels touched down,” the rover’s official Twitter account . NASA's Curiosity rover and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter caught Perseverance's trip to the surface as well.
Every picture tells a story. This one captures me in midair, floating over Mars while hanging from my parachute during the final #CountdownToMars.
Latest update and images: https://t.co/fnnEOOMWsV pic.twitter.com/39aGp963a3
— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) February 19, 2021
Now that it’s on Mars, NASA said it would spend the next few days testing Perseverance’s software and various instruments. In the following weeks, the plan is to then try out the rover’s robotic arm and take it on a short test drive. We’ll have to wait another month or two before NASA deploys Perseverance’s Ingenuity drone to explore the skies of Mars. And it will be a while yet before NASA and the European Space Agency work together to try and bring back the samples the rover is slated to collect over the next few years.