The Mars rover, Perseverance, takes its first drive since landing on the red planet.  These are some of the first images beamed back to earth, courtesy of the great folks at NASA. 

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. NASA says this image was taken during the first drive of NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars on March 4, 2021.

The drive served as a mobility test as each system is checked out and calibrated every system. Once the rover begins pursuing its science goals, regular commutes extending 656 feet (200 meters) or more are expected.

“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.”

The drive, which lasted about 33 minutes, propelled the rover forward 13 feet (4 meters), where it then turned in place 150 degrees to the left and backed up 8 feet (2.5 meters) into its new temporary parking space. NASA says the rover’s mobility system is not only thing getting a test drive. It also received a software update that will help it investigate the planet.

Stay tuned for more exciting developments.  In the meantime, be sure to check out NASA’s Perseverance page for more.

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