Perseverance's AutoNav Leads the Way
This annotated composite image shows the path NASA's Perseverance Mars rover took through a dense section of boulders. It was acquired on June 29, 2023, the 838th day, or sol, of the mission, by one of the rover's navigation cameras and was annotated using the Robot Sequencing and Visualization Program. The pale blue line indicates the course of the center of the rover's front wheel hubs, while the darker blue lines show the paths taken by the bottom of the rover's six wheels.
With the help of its self-driving autonomous navigation system, AutoNav, Perseverance traversed the boulder field much more quickly than previous rovers could have.
A key objective for Perseverance's mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet's geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).
Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.
The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA's Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.
JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.