BLOGMARS PERSEVERANCE ROVER


Making Tracks to the Delta
Mars Perseverance Sol 388 - Right Navigation Camera: Image acquired on March 24, 2022 (Sol 388) at the local mean solar time of 15:50:05 by the Right Navigation Camera (Navcam), showing the back of the rover and its wheel tracks. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

Perseverance is in a drive campaign going faster than any previous rover. How fast, you may ask? Its actual speed is just under a tenth of a mile per hour, but it’s faster than its predecessors. It is making comparatively rapid progress by devoting several hours per day to driving on very smooth terrain. That has allowed Perseverance to break previous rovers’ records for the distance traveled in one day, now standing at 319.8 m, the distance it traveled on Sol 351. Curiosity made a number of drives over 100 meters, but none over 200 meters. That was due in part to rockier terrain. Like Perseverance, Opportunity, which landed way back in 2004, had some very smooth patches of terrain, allowing it to travel up to 228 meters in one day using solar power just a year after its landing. Overall, it’s not just the single-day drive that matters; it is more difficult to put together a continuous campaign. That requires enough energy, enough time in the day, and enough data volume to Earth to support next-day drive decisions. Perseverance seems to have all of that, allowing our team to put together a sustained campaign that has met and exceeded expectations. In one week it has traveled about 1.5 km, effectively a rate of one mile per week. As of Friday, March 25, 2022, which was Sol 389, Perseverance had driven a total of 6.6 km (4.1 miles). You can watch the progress of Perseverance here: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/mission/where-is-the-rover/

I must admit that I was much more pessimistic. Over the years I have seen many unexpected situations that bedeviled planetary rovers, so I tend to expect the unexpected, having a “wait-and-see” attitude toward new achievements. So I am truly excited to see Perseverance pull off this rapid drive campaign. In terms of overall distance, Perseverance has a lot left if it wants to catch up with Opportunity (45 km) or Curiosity (over 27 km). I believe Perseverance will eventually surpass these other rovers, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Not to be missed, Perseverance’s intrepid companion, Ingenuity’s longest single-day flight (#9) was 625 m, logged back in July 2021. That is about twice as far in one day as the rover has gone. Ingenuity’s flight log, showing all of its travels, is here: https://mars.nasa.gov/technology/helicopter/#Flight-Log. Ingenuity is currently heading northwest across Seitah, aiming to rendezvous with Perseverance near the delta.



About This Blog

These blog updates are provided by self-selected Mars 2020 mission team members who love to share what Perseverance is doing with the public.

Dates of planned rover activities described in these blogs are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.

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Contributors+

  • Mariah Baker
    Planetary Scientist, Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
    Washington, DC
  • Iona Brockie
    Sampling Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Sawyer Brooks
    Docking Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Adrian Brown
    Deputy Program Scientist, NASA HQ
    Washington, DC
  • Denise Buckner
    Student Collaborator, University of Florida
    Gainesville, FL
  • Fred Calef III
    Mapping Specialist, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Alyssa Deardorff
    Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Kenneth Farley
    Project Scientist, Caltech
    Pasadena, CA
  • Phylindia Gant
    Mars 2020 Student Collaborator, University of Florida
  • Brad Garczynski
    Student Collaborator, Purdue University
    West Lafayette, IN
  • Erin Gibbons
    Student Collaborator, McGill University
    Montreal, Canada
  • Louise Jandura
    Chief Engineer for Sampling & Caching, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Lydia Kivrak
    Student Collaborator, University of Florida
    Gainesville, FL
  • Rachel Kronyak
    Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Matt Muszynski
    Vehicle Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Avi Okon
    Sampling Operations Deputy Lead, NASA/JPL
  • Pegah Pashai
    Vehicle Systems Engineer Lead, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • David Pedersen
    Co-Investigator, PIXL Instrument, Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
    Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Eleni Ravanis
    Student Collaborator, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
    Honolulu, HI
  • Vivian Sun
    Science Operations Systems Engineer, Staff Scientist, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Jennifer Trosper
    Project Manager, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Vandi Verma
    Chief Engineer for Robotic Operations, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Rick Welch
    Deputy Project Manager, NASA/JPL
  • Roger Wiens
    Principal Investigator, SuperCam / Co-Investigator, SHERLOC instrument, LANL
    Los Alamos, NM

Tools on the Perseverance Rover+

The Perseverance rover has tools to study the history of its landing site, seek signs of ancient life, collect rock and soil samples, and help prepare for human exploration of Mars. The rover carries:


CAMERAS & SPECTROMETERS
GROUND-PENETRATING RADAR
ENVIRONMENTAL SENSORS
TECHNOLOGY DEMO
SAMPLE COLLECTION

Where is the Rover?

Image of a rover pin-point at Perseverance's location on Mars, Jezero Crater

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