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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 28 February 2021

Nasa's Perseverance lands on Mars

Rover sends photos back to Earth after landing on Thursday, starting an operation to investigate the possibility of life on the Red Planet

Nasa’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars on Thursday to explore the surface of the Red Planet.

"We're trying to land the biggest, heaviest and most complex rover we've ever built at the most dangerous landing site we've ever attempted," Al Chen, entry, descent and landing chief, said earlier in the day.

Nasa said the Mars 2020 spacecraft carrying the Perseverance rover entered the Martian atmosphere and landed safely on the planet's surface.

The risky, autonomously guided landing phase lasted about seven minutes and it took more than 11 minutes for a radio signal to reach Earth confirming success.

"Cheers erupted in mission control at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as controllers confirmed that Nasa's Perseverance rover, with the Ingenuity helicopter attached to its belly, had touched down safely on Mars," the US space agency said.

After landing in the Jezero Crater, the rover has started sending images to Earth, depicted in this video.

It will spend years exploring the Jezero Crater in the hope of finding clues about the possibility of life on Mars.

There is a river delta that scientists believe may have been where water once flowed into the crater.

The rover has features such as a weather station and communications antenna.

It carries the Ingenuity helicopter, which will allow for the first controlled flight on another planet and – if successful – even greater exploration possibilities.

The first attempted flight of the Marscopter is scheduled to take place in about two months.

"Engineers are analysing the data flowing back from the spacecraft," Nasa said.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, congratulated the US and Nasa for another successful Mars mission.

Sarah Al Amiri, UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology and chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency, wished Nasa well in its mission.

"We are eager and excited for the scientific discoveries this mission will bring," she said.

As part of a global race to explore Mars, the UAE Space Agency launched a probe, Hope, that successfully entered the Martian orbit last week. The Tianwen-1 spacecraft from China also entered the planet's orbit.

Nasa's Mars mission

Updated: February 20, 2021 05:02 AM

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