I saw this announcement last night on the EarthSky.org website – Touchdown! Perseverance lands successfully on Mars: https://earthsky.org/space/get-ready-nasa-perseverance-landing-feb2021. Worth a read if you are into things space-related. There are photos in the link. Much longer article, but here’s some basic information.
by Lia Rovira in Space February 18, 2021
On February 18, 2021, the Perseverance rover – formerly called Mars 2020 – became the first artificial object to land on Mars since the Insight Mars lander in 2018. It was the first rover to land since Curiosity touched down in 2012. Perseverance is the largest, most advanced rover NASA has sent to another world. It traveled 293 million miles (472 million km) – over 203 days – to get to Mars. Confirmation of the successful touchdown was announced at mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in southern California. Perseverance set down in Jezero Crater, just north of Mars’ equator. The first raw images have started coming in …
Landing on Mars is hard. Space engineers refer to it as seven minutes of terror. But the rover hit the Martian atmosphere traveling at almost 12,000 miles per hour (19,000 kmh), streaking across the sky as its protective heat shield helped to slow it down. Then, at an altitude of about 1 mile (1.5 km), the descent module fired its engines, while a new terrain relative navigation system kicked in to identify a safe landing spot. Essentially, it scanned and analyzed the terrain below, then matched it up with maps in its database to prepare for touchdown. A 70-foot (21-meter) diameter parachute deployed to slow the craft further, bringing its descent to a crawl. Finally, the hovering-landing sky crane system began its task of lowering the rover the rest of the way to the ground for a soft, gentle landing. Touchdown!
At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, coronavirus protocols are still in effect at mission control, but not even a pandemic could dampen the celebration. Perseverance deputy project manager Matt Wallace said: