As Perseverance completes pilot test drive on Mars, what's next for the rover?

Written By: Bharat Sharma | Updated: Mar 06, 2021, 01:18 PM IST

Perseverance - the Mars rover successfully completed its first test drive on Mars, US space agency NASA said on Friday. Take a look at what the rover hopes to do in the near future, and how it completed its first spin on the Red Planet

How much did it travel?

The rover, which has six wheels travelled about 6.5 metres (21.3 feet) in 33 minutes on Thursday. It drove four metres forward, then turned in place 150 degrees to the left, and then backing 2.5 metres. 


"Kick the tires"

"This was our first chance to 'kick the tires' and take Perseverance out for a spin," Anais Zarifian, Perseverance mobility test bed engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California said after the drive.


How did the drive go?

Zarifian added that the test drive went "incredibly well", representing a "huge milestone for the mission and the mobility team." "We're going to do some longer drives," she added. "This is just the beginning."


What's next?

Engineers at NASA are currently studying potential routes for long rover voyages on Mars' surface. The agency has numerous trips planned for the rover. In addition, engineers are planning the first flight of a helicopter drone to be carried by the rover.


But can the rover take it?

According to NASA, the rover can cover 200 metres per Martian day, which is a bit longer than days on Earth. In addition, the rover can travel five times faster than Curiosity, its predecessor.