Perseverance beams back first colour picture from the surface of Mars

The Perseverance Mars rover landed in Jezero Crater just beyond a broad delta formation fanning out from an ancient river channel that once fed a 45-kilometre-wide (28-mile-wide) lake. The $2.4 billion rover will look for signs of past microbial life that might be preserved in those deposits, placing sample tubes on the surface for eventual retrieval and return to Earth. This image, taken by a hazard-avoidance camera, or “hazcam,” on the front of the rover, is the first colour photo from the surface showing the terrain directly ahead in sharp detail. Additional, higher-resolution photos and movies are planned to help scientists map out a route that will carry the rover across the lakebed and eventually to the delta and beyond to maximise the chances of finding biosignatures.

A colour image of the ground directly in front of Perseverance shows relatively flat terrain and an absence of large boulders – just what engineers wanted for the rover’s landing. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech