By Seyma Uzundere
ANKARA (AA) – The US space agency NASA’s discovery rover Perseverance made approximately 6.5 meters (21.3 feet) long drive two weeks after its landing on Mars on Feb. 18.
Anais Zarifian, one of the engineers of Perseverance, expressed her happiness with the movement of the rover and said the tire tracks that the rover left on Mars are still visible.
Perseverance successfully landed on Mars surface on Feb. 18 at the end of an approximately seven-month journey covering a distance of 470 million kilometers (over 292 million miles) after it was launched from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in the state of Florida, the US on June 30, 2020.
NASA announced on Feb. 18 that Perseverance had touched down safely at the 28-mile wide depression thought to have been home to a large lake — and perhaps microbial life — according to the space agency.
The rover will begin the process of collecting rock core samples that will be stored in metal tubes for return to Earth on future missions.
The samples are key to understanding whether life once existed on the planet the US now hopes to send humans to as early as the 2030s.
The most sophisticated vehicle ever sent to Mars was built in NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in California and it runs on plutonium fuel.
The space agency announced that $2.4 billion was spent on infrastructure work for the realization of the new mission on the red planet, and $300 million on the system that enabled the vehicle to land and operate.
Perseverance, which has a chemical analyzer, 20 cameras, a rock drill for collecting samples, a robotic arm, and a helicopter known as Ingenuity, is expected to stay on Mars for two years for exploration activity.
*Writing by Dilan Pamuk