NASA’s Perseverance rover lands on Mars

‘I’m safe on Mars.’ Not a message from Elon Musk after he’d been licking an Amazonian tree frog, but a tweet ‘from’ NASA’s Perseverance rover, which touched down successfully on the Red Planet on Thursday.

Its mission is to probe the soil for traces of past life over a full Martian year (687 of our Earth days). The rover was launched on its journey last June, and the most impressive element of the landing so far is that it was done using a new autonomous guidance system.

The signal lag from Earth to Mars is 11 minutes, which means remote piloting is impossible.