It seems like only yesterday that we started talking about Mars Perseverance, the complete laboratory station. However, and as surprising as it may seem, it will soon be a year and a half since it began its journey to the red planet, at the end of July 2020 and, as close as you remember it, today marks one year of its successful and spectacular landing on the Martian surface and that, almost immediately, it shared with us the first image taken by one of its cameras.
During the first few weeks, news about Mars Perseverance was constant, both because of its deployment and start-up, and because throughout its journey it carried an exceptional passenger, the Ingenuity helicopter, thefirst device designed by the human being to fly on another planet. A device initially designed to take images of Mars, but which proved to be even more useful than previously anticipated, becoming an explorer capable of surveying the terrain to ensure the movement of the Mars Perseverance.
During these twelve months, milestones have been achieved, such as the Ingenuity flights that I have already mentioned, the taking of samples that, if the plans are fulfilled, will one day reach our planet, and has also had to face adversities, such as the planned disconnections due to the lack of a direct line of sight between Earth and Mars, and also other unforeseen ones, such as a sample that blocked one of the receptacles for them, and that finally could be solved with a vibratory movement that expelled it back to the surface.
During this year, Mars Perseverance has taken samples, but has also shared a lot of data with us. From pinpointing the location of what was once a lake on the red planet, to stunning images or even various audio samples captured by the rover. Thus, even if the plan to recover the samples taken and bring them back to our planet did not exist, we could already consider that the mission has been tremendously successful.
Shortly after it landed, just one year ago today, we wondered about the future of Mars Perseverance, just as shortly after its launch, when much of its journey had yet to be completed, about our relationship, each most special day, with our planetary neighbor. A relationship that, if the plans are fulfilled, will become substantially closer over the next decade, both with the arrival on Earth of the samples that are currently being taken, and due to the still distant and doubtful but undoubtedly attractive plan to bring humans to the surface of Mars.
Mars Perseverance has taken some very important steps in this direction this year, so if nothing else, she has earned a loud congratulations after her first year of service on Mars.
More information: NASA