The view from Mars: Here’s the 1st photo from NASA’s Perseverance rover!

Just minutes after NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover nailed its touchdown on the Red Planet, the spacecraft sent back the first two images of its new home in Jezero Crater.

After a seven-month trek to Mars, the Perseverance rover completed the perilous landing procedure nicknamed “seven minutes of terror” on Thursday (Feb. 18), with the successful landing announced just before 4 p.m. EST (2100 GMT, or 1 p.m. PST at the mission’s headquarters at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Just minutes after the good news arrived, NASA received the rover’s first two images.

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This is the first photo NASA’s Perseverance rover beamed back to Earth after it landed on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. (Image credit: NASA)

These photographs were taken by hazard cameras attached to the spacecraft and are black and white images; they were also taken with covers still attached to the camera lenses for their protection. Later images from the rover will be much more impressive.

The first image also shows the comforting shadow of the rover itself cast on the Martian surface. The new photographs will also help mission personnel identify precisely where in the landing zone Perseverance touched down.

A second image from the Perseverance rover taken just after landing shows the view from the rear of the spacecraft. (Image credit: NASA)

But these images are just what scientists on the mission wanted to see, showing off the rocky surface of Mars’ Jezero Crater. Mission scientists chose the location because they believe that when the Red Planet was still covered in water, the crater was once a lake, with a river delta depositing sediments on its floor.

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