The Descent of Perseverance (Updated)
NASA/JPL/UArizona
The Descent of Perseverance (Updated)
ESP_068281_9024
The Mars 2020 descent stage holding NASA’s Perseverance rover can be seen falling through the Martian atmosphere, its parachute trailing behind, in this image taken on 18 February 2021. The ancient river delta, which is the target of the Perseverance mission, can be seen entering Jezero Crater from the left.

HiRISE was approximately 700 kilometers (435 miles) from Perseverance at the time of the image and traveling at about 3 kilometers per second (6,750 mph). The extreme distance and high speeds of the two spacecraft were challenging conditions that required precise timing and for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to both pitch upward and roll hard to the left so that Perseverance was viewable by HiRISE at just the right moment.

UPDATE: 22 FEBRUARY 2021
This first HiRISE image of the Perseverance Rover on the surface of Mars also shows many parts of the descent system that got it safely there. Each inset shows an area about 650 feet (200 meters) across. The rover itself sits at the center of a blast pattern created by the hovering skycrane (labeled as “descent stage”) that lowered it there. The skycrane flew off to crash as at a safe distance creating a V-shaped debris pattern that points back toward the rover it came from.

Earlier in the landing sequence, Perseverance jettisoned its heatshield and parachute which crashed in the separate locations illustrated.

These foreign objects on the surface of Mars are highly visible now but will become dustier with time and slowly fade into the background over years. HiRISE will continue to image the Perseverance landing site to track the progress of the rover and changes in the other pieces of hardware that accompanied it.

Written by: Shane Byrne   (19 February 2021)

Usage Policy
All of the images produced by HiRISE and accessible on this site are within the public domain: there are no restrictions on their usage by anyone in the public, including news or science organizations. We do ask for a credit line where possible: Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Postscript
For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona. The image data were processed using the U.S. Geological Survey’s ISIS3 software.