NASA’s Perseverance rover has now been exploring Mars for a full year, and it has captured some amazing photos during that stretch.
The car-sized Perseverance rover touched down inside the Red Planet’s 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021. The rover is searching for signs of past Mars life in Jezero, which hosted a big lake and a river delta in the ancient past. It’s also collecting and caching dozens of samples for future return to Earth.
Perseverance is not alone on Jezero’s floor. A 4-pound (1.8 kilograms) helicopter named Ingenuity landed with the rover, tasked with showing that aerial exploration is possible on Mars despite the planet’s thin atmosphere. Ingenuity aced its five-flight prime mission and is now serving as a scout for Perseverance, with a total of 19 Martian sorties under its belt to date.
Here are some of the most memorable photos by (and of) the robotic duo over the past 12 months. This is just the tiniest sampling, for there are literally thousands to choose from — more than 200,000, in fact. If you’d like to see more, check out the Perseverance and Ingenuity raw image database that NASA makes freely available.
In photos: NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover mission to the Red Planet