The American space agency, NASA, has successfully landed its Perseverance rover in a deep crater near the planet’s equator called Jezero.

The mission’s deputy project manager, Matt Wallace, says Perseverance appears to be in great shape.

Engineers at Nasa’s mission control in California erupted with joy when the confirmation of touchdown came through.

The signal alerting controllers that Perseverance was down and safe arrived at 20:55 GMT.

Previously, successful space landings would see engineers hugging and high-fiving each other on a job well executed but strict coronavirus safety protocols meant they had all been separated by Perspex screens and a respectful fist bump was about all they could manage.

However, the excitement was evident and the applause continued when the first two images taken by low-resolution engineering cameras, came in.

Landing on Mars has never been easy, and though Nasa has become expert at it, everyone on the Perseverance team had spoken with great caution going into Thursday.

This is the second one-tonne rover put on Mars by the US space agency.

The first, Curiosity, was landed in a different crater in 2012. It trialed innovative descent technologies, including a rocket-powered cradle, that Perseverance has also now put to good effect.

Post-landing analysis indicated the vehicle had come down about 2km to the south east of the delta feature in Jezero that Perseverance plans to investigate.

The six-wheeled vehicle will now spend at least the next two years drilling into the local rocks, looking for evidence of past life.

Jezero is thought to have held a giant lake billions of years ago. And where there’s been water, there’s the possibility there might also have been life.


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