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With No Roads on Mars to Drive On, Perseverance Zigzags 0.17 Miles Like Crazy

In essence, extremely exciting bits of engineering, Mars rovers have never been designed for speed. That’s because when it comes to the exploration of other worlds, taking it painfully slow is the best and safest way to go.
Map of Perseverance's whereabouts on Mars 1 photo
Take the latest such machine to be sent to the Red Planet. Perseverance landed in the Jezero Crater on Mars in February, and even if two full months have passed since the rover is not much farther from where it touched down.

We got the first glimpse of how slow the machine really is at the beginning of March. Back then, NASA proudly announced the thing moved for 21.3 feet (6.5 meters), an extremely important achievement considering it served to validate all of the rover’s systems.

Now, the space agency informed via a tweet that Perseverance is 0.17 miles (270 meters) from where it landed after it zigzagged to its current position. NASA even provided a map of the rover’s whereabouts showing just how twisted the path was.

Starting from its landing point, Perseverance took a short stroll south, then decided north is the best way to go. It traveled for a short distance in this direction, then reoriented itself to go east, toward the spot where its debris shield landed.

It then backtracked, coming close to its starting point to drop off the Ingenuity helicopter. It then moved away, again to the east, and it is now sitting in what NASA calls the overlook site. That’s the place from where it is to observe Ingenuity’s flight, scheduled for next week, if nothing else goes wrong.

NASA is presently running the Where Is Perseverance website, a tool meant to help keep tabs on the rover’s whereabout.

There are two maps provided there, a greyscale one compiled with the help of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and a color base map made using the European Space Agency’s Mars Express High Resolution Stereo.

You can play with the map here.


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