UPDATED: Feb 19, 2021, 10;55 AM(IST)
NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars after successfully encountering “seven minutes of terror” while touching down on the red planet.
The rover landed at 2055 GMT becoming only the fifth ever to set its wheels down on Mars. The rover which is the size of an SUV weighs a ton and is armed with a robotic arm and 19 cameras and two microphones.
Perseverance will undertake its mission to search for clues of life on Mars which may have existed there billions of years ago.
Luther Beegle, deputy manager of the science division at NASA said: “Landing on Mars is hard. Landing on any planet is hard. Now that we’ve done it again, we might get to the point where we think it’s routine but it’s not. It’s a very difficult process and now we get to go to work. The science team gets to go to work.”
“The engineering team gets to drive the rover across Mars and really see what we can do with it. This is the most complex thing we’ve ever landed, and it’s just going to be a lot of fun over the next few years,” Beegle added.
Steve Jurczyk, acting administrator of NASA said: “maybe by mid-to-end of the 2030s we can start pushing out of the Earth-Moon system and land astronauts on Mars.”
US President Joe Biden also hailed the historic landing. Biden congratulated NASA and said that the event has proved once again that with the power of science and American ingenuity, nothing is beyond the realm of possibility.