The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has created an interactive, 360-degree video portraying the Perseverance Mars Rover’s vantage point on the Red Planet Wednesday, just as the robotic explorer was preparing to head out for its first trek across the Martian terrain in search of discoveries.
The “commissioning phase” of the rover’s mission ended and the “science phase” formally began June 1, when it rolled away from the Octavia E. Butler landing site, according to JPL. But since then, it has primarily been performing systems checks and supporting flights of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter.
Although it has already taken more than 75,000 pictures, recorded the first-ever sounds from Mars and tested its oxygen-generating MOXIE instrument.
But in the coming weeks, Perseverance will begin putting mileage on its six wheels and getting down to exploration, according to Perseverance Project Manager Jennifer Trosper of JPL.
“We are putting the rover’s commissioning phase as well as the landing site in our rearview mirror and hitting the road,” she said. “Over the next several months, Perseverance will be exploring a 1.5-square-mile patch of crater floor. It is from this location that the first samples from another planet will be collected for return to Earth by a future mission.”
More information on the mission is available online at jpl.nasa.gov/missions/mars-