NASA's Perseverance rover takes its first test drive on Mars
NASA's Perseverance rover has taken its first test drive on Mars, the agency announced Friday (March 5).
Perseverance, a car-sized rover that landed successfully on the Red Planet Feb. 18, just made its first short drive on Thursday, NASA officials said. The rover moved a total of 21.3 feet (6.5 meters) across the Martian terrain on a drive that took about 33 minutes, during which Perseverance moved forward, turned in place and backed up. The rover drives with a top speed of .01 miles per hour (.016 kilometers).
"Our first drive went incredibly well," NASA's Anais Zarifian, a Perseverance mobility test bed engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Zarifian added that the rover "works beautifully, we were so excited."
"This is really just the beginning," Zarifian said.
During the briefing, mission team members also announced that they are naming Perseverance's landing site in Jezero Crater "Octavia E. Butler Landing" after the famed science fiction author; the first science fiction author to receive the MacArthur Fellowship.
Includes a short video of the test drive.