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Mars Rover sends new pictures from Red Planet after two-week blackout
October 30, 2021
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NASA's Mars rover has sent back new photos for the first time after the planet fell into a two-week blackout.
The Perseverance, which is the size of a car, had to stand down along with other Mars spacecraft for around two weeks recently after the Red Planet slipped behind the sun from Earth's perspective.
In this alignment, which is known as solar conjunction, the sun can corrupt commands sent from Earth to Mars, making it too risky for NASA to take that chance.
But Mars has now come back into view for mission controls all across the world, including the one operating Perseverance, which is based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.
"I’m back to work, parked between these two beautiful outcrops. Been doing some imaging, weather studies, chemistry experiments and getting a software update too," mission team members wrote on Monday (Oct. 25)
The social media post included two breath taking photos of the Red Planet terrain that Perseverance was traversing, Space.com reports.
NASA's rover touched down on Feb. 18 and was taked primarily with hunting for signs of ancient Mars life and collecting dozens of samples for its future return back to Earth.
It's reported that the robot has already taken up two tubes of Mars material.
The rover landed with a small helicopter partner named Ingenuity which was designed to prove that aerial exploration was feasible on Mars.
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Ingenuity is also back online after completing its 14th Martian flight on Sunday (Oct. 24).
A NASA scientist recently said Mars was once like Earth as the two planets are made out of the "same stuff".
Dr Becky McCauley-Rench spoke on the space platform's YouTube account saying that Mars was like Earth because there is evidence that lakes and streams once existed on the red planet.
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She said: "Whenever the Solar System first formed over four billion years ago, Mars and Earth formed out of the same stuff and so they looked very similar.
"While today, whenever we look at Mars we see a very dry planet as compared to the Earth, which is you know our blue marble, we see evidence of past lakes and streams.
"It may have even had a shallow northern ocean. However, they diverged and we have two very different planets today."
Water still exists in its frozen version on Mars as scientists continue to investigate the ice surrounding the planet.