New images of NASA’s Perseverance rover, along with its parachute, heat shield and descent stage, were captured by the CaSSIS camera aboard ESA’s Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) on February 23, 2021.
TGO spotted the Perseverance rover, along with its parachute and back shell, heat shield and descent stage, in the Jezero Crater region of Mars. Image credit: ESA / Roscosmos / CaSSIS / A. Valantinas.
Developed under NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, it will seek signs of past microbial life and characterize the planet’s climate and geology.
It will also collect samples of Martian rocks and dust for a future Mars Sample Return mission to Earth, while paving the way for human exploration of the Red Planet.
Perseverance, the largest, heaviest robotic Mars rover NASA has built, is based on the Curiosity rover configuration.
It is car-sized, about 3 m (10 feet) long not including the robotic arm, 2.7 m (9 feet) wide and 2.1 m (7 feet) tall. But at 1,025 kg (2,260 pounds), it weighs less than a compact car.
Its robotic arm is equipped with a rotating turret, which includes a rock drill, science instruments and a camera.
TGO spotted the Perseverance rover in Jezero Crater on Mars. Image credit: ESA / Roscosmos / CaSSIS / P. Grindrod.
The TGO spacecraft provided significant data relay services around the landing of Perseverance, including supporting the return of the videos and imagery taken by the mission’s onboard cameras during the descent of the rover to the surface of Mars.
“TGO will continue to provide data relay support between Earth and Mars for NASA’s surface missions, and for the next ExoMars mission, which will see the European Rosalind Franklin rover and Kazachok surface platform arrive at the Red Planet in 2023,” ESA researchers said.
“At the same time, TGO continues its own science mission, focusing on analyzing the planet’s atmosphere with a special emphasis on searching for gases that may be linked to active geological or biological processes.”