So, Percy is doing fine, landed safely, systems are all functioning, camera's already sending back stunning images and the rover has taken its first short journey to try out wheel manoeuvrability... to verify that the wheels on this bus, do indeed go round and round!   

Tracks in the martian soil - We have wheels, let's roll
(click for larger image

The Perseverance rover mission is the next stage of NASA's robotic exploration of the Red Planet, the primary objective for this mission being astrobiology research, seeking for signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past, as well as searching for signs of past microbial life itself. 

Jezero crater, with location of landing site circled. (click for larger image)


Actual touch down site on the delta plain (click for larger image)

Perseverance, like it’s still functioning predecessor, Curiosity, will be able to roam over the surface, taking one of two routes still being fully assessed by mission scientists, and through what they believe to be a dried up river delta basin spilling into Jezero crater. Billions of years ago this was believed to be a lake through which water flowed. All this is to come, but for the next few weeks attention will be turned to the small package strapped to the underside of Percy, the 'helidrone' Ingenuity. This small, lightweight helicopter drone is an experimental demonstrator to see whether such devices have the ability to fly in the thinner Martian atmosphere.

Over the past week or so, Percy has been trundling over the Martian terrain near where it landed looking for a suitable landing strip - somewhere flat and not over strewn with debris. A suitable location has now been identified and Ingenuity's protective shroud has been dropped, so that the drone can rotate out of the belly of Percy. 

Igenuity see first light, hopefully soon to be first flight
(click for larger image)

Once released, Ingenuity will perform a series of test flights over a 30-Martian-day window beginning sometime after April 8th.  

Igenuity - soon to undertake the first powered flight from the surface of another world ?
(click for larger image

The space to watch is   


All images - NASA/Caltech/JPL