NASA releases panoramic view of Mars rover landing site

NASA has released the first high-definition panoramic view of its Mars rover Perseverance’s landing site at Jezero Crater.

The newly released panorama reveals the crater rim and cliff face of an ancient river delta in the distance, NASA said on Wednesday.

The panorama was stitched together on Earth from 142 individual images taken on Sol 3, the third Martian day of the mission on February 21.

The images were captured by Mastcam-Z, a zoomable pair of cameras aboard the Perseverance rover which touched down on the Red Planet on February 18.

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 colour and 3D images of the Martian surface.

With this capability, the robotic astrobiologist can provide a detailed examination of both close and distant objects.

The cameras will help scientists assess the geologic history and atmospheric conditions of Jezero Crater and will assist in identifying rocks and sediment worthy of a closer look by the rover’s other instruments.

The cameras will also help the mission team determine which rocks the rover should sample and collect for eventual return to Earth in the future.

The camera system can reveal details as small as 3 to 5 millimetres across near the rover and two to three metres across in the distant slopes along the horizon.

The detailed composite image shows a Martian surface that appears similar to images captured by previous NASA rover missions.