NASA's Mars rover Perseverance, the most advanced robotic astrobiology lab ever flown to another world, ended its seven-month, 293-million-mile (470-million-km) journey on Thursday (February 18), by making a successful daredevil landing on the red planet.
Hurtling through space across the last 150,000 miles (240,000 km) of its voyage, Perseverance touched inside a vast basin called Jezero Crater, site of a long-vanished Martian lake bed.
Mission managers of NASA scientists unveiled images during an online news briefing webcast from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Los Angeles in less than 24 hours after the landing.
The striking early images from the picture-perfect landing of the Mars rover Perseverance, including a selfie of the six-wheeled vehicle dangling just above the surface of the Red Planet moments before touchdown, was snapped by a camera mounted on the rocket-powered "sky crane" descent-stage just above the rover as the car-sized space vehicle was being lowered to Martian soil.
These color photographs, presented below, are likely to become instant classics among memorable images from the history of spaceflight.
NASA's Perseverance rover descends to touch down on Mars in a still image from a video camera aboard the descent stage taken February 18, 2021
The first high-resolution, color image to be sent back by the Hazard Cameras (Hazcams) on the underside of NASA's Perseverance Mars rover
The deck of NASA?s Perseverance Mars rover, featuring the PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry), one of the instruments on its stowed arm, is seen in an image taken by the rover's navigation cameras on Mars February 20, 2021
A portion of a panorama made up of individual images taken by the Navigation Cameras, or Navcams, aboard NASA?s Perseverance Mars rover shows the Martian landscape February 20, 2021
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover, the biggest, heaviest, most advanced vehicle sent to the Red Planet by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is seen on Mars in an undated illustration provided by Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California
A panorama made up of six individual images taken by the Navigation Cameras, or Navcams, aboard NASA's Perseverance Mars rover shows the Martian landscape February 20, 2021
The surface of Mars directly below NASA's Mars Perseverance rover is seen using the Rover Down-Look Camera in a combination of images acquired February 22, 2021
A green dot marks where NASA's Perseverance Mars rover landed in Jezero Crater on Mars
The descent stage holding NASA's Perseverance rover can be seen falling through the Martian atmosphere
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover is seen where it landed in Jezero Crater on Mars