Late Tuesday, Julie Kangas, a navigator engaged on the Perseverance rover mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, mentioned the rover had logged 146.three million miles as of 1:40 p.m. PST, with one other 146.three million miles to go.
“Whereas I do not suppose there shall be cake, particularly since most of us are working from house, it is nonetheless a fairly neat milestone,” Kangas mentioned in a assertion. “Subsequent cease, Jezero Crater.”
NASA has additionally posted a real-time look to see the place the rover is at any time.
Although Perseverance has traveled half the space to Mars, it’s not truly midway between the 2 planets, Kangas added, because the solar’s gravitational affect impacts the rover’s curved trajectory.
“In straight-line distance, Earth is 26.6 million miles [42.7 million kilometers] behind Perseverance and Mars is 17.9 million miles [28.8 million kilometers] in entrance,” Kangas defined.
The $2.1 billion rover may even include the primary helicopter, often called Ingenuity, that may let researchers perceive the viability and potential of heavier-than-air autos on the Purple Planet. In August, NASA powered up the six lithium-ion batteries on Ingenuity.
As soon as Perseverance lands on Mars on the Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021, it is going to be part of the nonetheless functioning Curiosity rover and the now-deceased Alternative rover on the Purple Planet.
The mission’s length on the Purple Planet’s floor is not less than one Martian yr or about 687 days. Whereas there, it is going to carry out numerous duties, together with trying for fossilized proof of extraterrestrial life.
NASA’s long-term objective is to ship a manned mission to Mars within the 2030s.
Fox Information’ James Rogers contributed to this story.