By Tim Binnall
To the relief of scientists at NASA and the delight of space enthusiasts around the world, the space agency's Perseverance Rover has successfully touched down on Mars. The craft's seven-month-long journey to the Red Planet, which began back in July when it left the Earth, culminated this afternoon with a harrowing landing sequence dubbed the "seven minutes of terror" due to the complexity of the maneuver and NASA's inability to communicate with the rover during the process.
Fortunately, the white-knuckle moment came and went without any major issues, sparking celebration from the Perseverance team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Having arrived on Mars, the rover will now begin what should be an enlightening two-year-long mission exploring the Jezaro Crater looking for signs that life may have existed on the Red Planet in the distant past. The search for such evidence will be conducted using an array of advanced scientific instruments as well as a staggering 19 cameras and a pair of microphones. Perseverance will also attempt to make history by launching an autonomous helicopter, dubbed Ingenuity, which would be the first-ever interplanetary flight by a human craft should it successfully take to the skies of Mars.
While one would be wise to temper their expectations, NASA's chief scientist Dr. Jim Green speculated in an interview two years ago that Perseverance could find evidence for life on Mars within months of its arrival, meaning this coming summer. Although time will tell whether or not such a discovery will occur in the time frame suggested, anomaly hunters who scour NASA images for what they believe are artifacts from an ancient civilization will be treated to a myriad of new photos from the Red Planet which will, no doubt, provide us with a bevy of weird and wacky 'objects' spotted on the surface of Mars.