NASA’s Perseverance rover is currently undergoing checks to ensure it’s ready to start exploring its new surroundings on Mars.
But that hasn’t stopped the mission’s team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California from firing up some of the rover’s many cameras to capture amazing imagery from inside Jezero Crater where it touched down in spectacular fashion last week.
We’ve already been treated to a beautiful panorama of the Martian surface, as well as an image of the moment Perseverance’s descent stage performed an intentional crash landing shortly after it lowered the rover to the ground.
But now we have Perseverance’s most remarkable picture yet, one made up of 142 separate images stitched together. Posted by NASA on Wednesday, February 24, the photo is so large that you can zoom in to any part and still retain an enormous amount of detail.
Below you can see the image in its entirety. Take it full screen before using the buttons to zoom and pan so you can see everything at close range (we’ve posted a couple of examples below).
The images that make up the panorama were captured by Perseverance’s Mastcam-Z camera. The final image shows the crater rim and cliff face of an ancient river delta in the distance.
“Mastcam-Z is a dual-camera system equipped with a zoom function, allowing the cameras to zoom in, focus, and take high-definition video, as well as panoramic color and 3D images of the Martian surface,” NASA explains on its website. “With this capability, the robotic astrobiologist can provide a detailed examination of both close and distant objects.”
Besides creating gorgeous panoramas, the cameras will also enable scientists to assess the geologic history and atmospheric conditions of Jezero Crater, and help to find rocks and sediment worthy of a closer look by Perseverance’s other research instruments.
The cameras will also assist the mission team when it comes to deciding which rocks the rover should collect for further scientific investigation back on Earth.
Oh, and a final thought. Perseverance’s most detailed image to date offers an excellent chance for space fans to search for any so-called Easter eggs that the rover is believed to be hiding.