"Cheers erupted in mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as controllers confirmed that NASA's Perseverance rover, with the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter attached to its belly, has touched down safely on Mars. Engineers are analyzing the data flowing back from the spacecraft," NASA said in a short statement released after the Rover's landing.
Just minutes after it reached its landing site in the Jezero crater, the human-made machine quickly sent a photo back home, a black and white image that will certainly make it to the history books (the main photo of this piece).
Perseverance is tasked with a multitude of missions, some of them never attempted before. These tasks include the never-ending search for signs of life, past or present, the tracking of natural resources and hazards, and the assessment of the habitability of the environment.
The rover will be the first human-made machine that will try and generate oxygen on another planet. Using an instrument called Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE), it will produce oxygen from Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide – Mars' atmosphere is 96 percent carbon dioxide.
Also, it will launch a tiny helicopter to see if the Martian atmosphere can support flight with this type of aircraft. Later on, it will begin collecting samples and storing them before another mission picks them up and returns them to Earth.
Together with the Perseverance rover, close to 11 million human names (10,932,295, to be precise) were sent to the Red Planet, inscribed on three fingernail-sized silicon chips attached to an aluminum plate on the rover.