The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Thursday launched its new Mars rover, Perseverance, whose primary mission is to find and sample possible signs of ancient life in the Martian soil for return to Earth by a future robotic mission.
Perseverance also is equipped with the first microphone on Mars to record its descent, a zoomable camera, and a lightweight helicopter drone.
During descent, cameras will feed images to machine vision algorithms running on a dedicated computer, which will divert Perseverance to a different landing site if it goes off course.
After landing, the rover will detach the autonomous helicopter, Ingenuity, from its belly to collect data that will guide the design of larger aircraft for future Mars missions.
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