Comply with Perseverance on its journey to Mars with this two-year time-lapse

Hard to believe, but the Perseverance rover has entered its third year exploring Mars. On February 18, 2021, the Perseverance rover survived the harrowing landing at Jezero Crater and almost immediately began an expedition to collect a geologically diverse set of rock samples that could help answer the question of whether Mars once existed ancient microbial life.

JPL and NASA have put together a wonderful biennial animation of images from the rover’s front left hazard avoidance camera to celebrate Percy’s landing anniversary.

During the time-lapse, you can see various rocks that Perseverance has stopped to examine with her robotic arm and sensors. The rover has now traveled almost 15 km (9 miles). As well as studying numerous rocks, it has also collected and stowed 18 sample containers containing rock, regolith and even the Martian atmosphere for later collection and return to Earth in a future Mars Sample Return mission.

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“Anniversaries are a time for reflection and celebration, and the Perseverance team does a lot of both,” said Ken Farley, Perseverance project scientist at Caltech in Pasadena, in a press release. “Perseverance has surveyed and collected data on hundreds of fascinating geological features, collected 15 rock cores and established the first off-world sample repository. With the launch of the next scientific campaign, known as ‘Upper Fan’, on February 15th, we expect to expand this list very soon.”

An image from the Perseverance rover’s hazard avoidance camera. Credit: NASA/JPL.

NASA has compiled a huge list of rover highlights from the first two years.

“Behind each number is a lot of thought and effort from a very talented group of men and women on the Perseverance team,” said Art Thompson, Perseverance project manager at JPL. “We’ve come a long way together and I can’t think of a better group to work with as we go further.”

Here are Percy’s two years in numbers:

  • 18 samples collected and sealed
  • Set up a depot with 10 sample tubes
  • Laser shots fired by the scientific instrument SuperCam: 230,554
  • Soundings made by ground-penetrating radar RIMFAX (Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment) to study subsurface rock strata: 676,828
  • Mars audio recordings captured with the SuperCam microphone: 662
  • Hours of Martian weather data recorded by MEDA (Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer): 15,769.1
  • Hours of operation of the X-ray filament on the instrument PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry): 298.2
  • Laser shots from the SHERLOC instrument (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals): 4,337,010
  • SHERLOC spectroscopy observations: 33
  • Times the rover’s main robotic arm was de-stacked and stowed: 64
  • Draw how the drill on this arm touched Mars: 39
  • Number of drill changes: 48
  • Abrasion from the drill: 17
  • Distance traveled up and down by the Z-stage of the rover’s sample handling arm: 676.1 ft (206.1 meters)

Perseverance’s camera stats

Perseverance contains seven science cameras along with nine technical cameras. Together, these cameras have more than taken 166,000 images. Here are the image lists for some of them.

  • Mastcam Z: 86,660
  • Navigation cameras: 21,571
  • Front hazard avoidance cameras: 3,909
  • Rear hazard avoidance cameras: 474
  • Sampling and caching system camera: 1,321
  • SuperCam Remote Micro Imager: 2,825
  • SHERLOC context imager: 2,260
  • MEDA SkyCam: 1,831
  • PIXL micro context camera: 1,012
  • Entry, descent and landing cameras: 33,279

You can watch a presentation by Dr. Sunanda Sharma, Postdoctoral Researcher, Mars 2020, at JPL last week as she talks about the last two years of operations and discovery.

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