Six months and more than 300 million miles later, the NASA Perseverance rover has touched down on Mars. Nicknamed “Percy” by the mission control team, the probe began sending back images of the red planet shortly after it executed a perfect landing at 3:55 p.m. ET on Thursday. Though the power of technology, you can see the NASA team monitor and guide the rover in the video below. Luckily, it all went fairly smoothly.
To see just how amazing the Perseverance landing was, PBS covered the event and its infamous “seven minutes of terror”, which involves navigating through the thin Martian atmosphere at a speed of over 12,000 mph and attempting a soft landing on the Martian surface.
“This landing is one of those pivotal moments for NASA, the United States, and space exploration globally–when we know we are on the cusp of discovery and sharpening our pencils, so to speak, to rewrite the textbooks,” said acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk to CNN. “The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission embodies our nation’s spirit of persevering even in the most challenging of situations, inspiring, and advancing science and exploration.”
President Joe Biden called Jurczyk and told him “Congratulations, man,” and then praised the NASA team on Twitter. “Congratulations to NASA and everyone whose hard work made Perseverance’s historic landing possible. Today proved once again that with the power of science and American ingenuity, nothing is beyond the realm of possibility,” Biden wrote.
Perseverance’s current mission is to search Mars for any signs of life, although thankfully it hasn’t discovered any signs of demonic influence or an incredibly angry space marine wielding a shotgun…yet. If you’re interested in seeing Percy’s progress, you can follow the plucky explorer through its official Twitter account.