NASA’s Perseverance Rover has collected six samples of rock, taken 100,000 photos of Mars, and traveled 1.8 miles in its first year.

After seven minutes of terrifying descent to Mars’ surface, the SUV-sized robot reached Mars’ Jezero Crater on February 20, 2021. 

NASA says that the vehicle has set a few records in its 10 month journey to Mars. This includes the longest Martian day-long drive.

The US space agency posted a video celebrating the achievements of its rover. It also shared footage of 2021’s top highlights and what will come in 2022.

There were many celebrations, including the surprise success of Ingenuity’s helicopter. This small craft travelled along Perseverance Mars to offer it an aerial view.

NASA's Perseverance rover has taken six rock samples, captured 100,000 images of the Red Planet, and travelled 1.8 miles during its first 10 months on Mars

NASA’s Perseverance has taken six rocks samples and taken 100,000 photographs of Mars. The Perseverance also traveled 1.8 miles over its first 10 month on Mars.

The SUV-sized rover touched down on Mars' Jezero Crater in February 2021, following a seven minutes of terror descent to the Martian surface

Following seven minutes on terror descent to Mars’ surface in the Martian atmosphere, the SUV-sized Rover reached Mars’ Jezero Crater in Feb 2021.


From February 2021 when Perseverance arrived on Mars, it has been: 

  • Driven for 1.8 miles 
  • Six rock samples were collected 
  • Record for the longest day-long drive 
  • Breaked the Mars rover record 
  • More than 50 gigabytes data collected 
  • Taken 100,000 images 
  • Taken two selfies 
  • Produced 50 grams oxygen 

Jessica Samuels was the Perseverance Surface Operations Mission Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (South California). She described it to be a “busy 10-months.”

It has been an year of persistence. It is fitting for both the vehicle and the team, from operating during Covid to the challenges of sampling to the interpretation of scientific results. NASA has shared a video of her remarks.  

Perseverance was launched to the Red Planet’s summer 2020. It arrived months later, in February 2021. Within weeks, it began to observe the tiny helicopter.

NASA says it landed in the Jezero Crater. NASA believes that this area was once filled by a 1,600ft-deep lake.

It is believed that the region hosted microbial life some 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago and the rover will examine soil samples to hunt for evidence of the life.

Perky the Rover’s major achievement is its speed. It has traveled 1.8 miles from the start, and reached 385 feet on July 1, 2021. 

Perseverance also collected samples of Martian soil, rock and atmosphere. These were stored in titanium tubes that are ready for the next mission. 

It has already collected six Mars samples of potential 43. A selection will be taken by an American and European joint mission in the next decade. 

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has been helping Perseverance in its search for ancient life. However, it was originally designed to demonstrate technology.

Engineers wanted to test whether an air component could be used on a planetary mission. They sent the 4lb Rotocraft, which was attached to Perseverance’s stomach, to Mars. 

Among those celebrations is the surprising success of the Ingenuity helicopter, a small rotorcraft that travelled with Perseverance to Mars to give it an aerial view

One of those celebrations is the unexpected success of Ingenuity, the small helicopter that traveled with Perseverance Mars in order to provide an aerial view.

The rover will characterise 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

It will provide information about the past climate and geology of Mars, open the door to human exploration, and it will be the first mission ever to retrieve and store Martian regolith and rock.


Fly one April 19, 2021 – Vertical Takeoff Up to 9.8ft. Stationary hover, Landing 

Fly two April 22, 2021 with a vertical takeoff up to 16ft, hover, then shift westward for 14ft before returning and landing 

Threerd flight: April 25, 2021, vertical takeoff at 16ft. Hover, then shift northwards up to 328ft with an airspeed of just 2 m/s. Landing back on land

Fourth flight April 30, 2021 with a vertical takeoff up to 16ft, hover, shift southwards 873ft at 3.5m/s before returning to land 

Five: May 7, 2021 with a vertical takeoff up to 33ft, hover, shift southwards 423ft at 3.5 m/s before landing at that new location

Sixth flight: May 22, 2021 with a vertical takeoff of 33ft, hover, shift southwest 492ft at 9mph, travel 49ft south, travel 164ft before returning to land 

Fly seven June 8, 2021 with a vertical takeoff of 33ft, hover, shift 348ft at 9mph, land at Airfield D

Flight eight: June 21, 2021 with a vertical takeoff, hover, shift southwest 520ft, land at Airfield E 438ft away from Perseverance

Flight nine: July 5, 2021 with a record length of 2,050ft southwest over a prospective research location at 16ft per second.

Fly ten: July 24, 2021 with a record height of 40 feet (12 metres) over Raised Ridges to Airfield G. Flight duration 165.4 seconds.   

Flight eleven: August 5, 2021 by flying 1,250ft for 130 seconds in preparation for a series of reconnaissance missions for the Perseverance rover.

Fly Twelve August 16, 2021 by flying 1,476ft for 169 seconds, climbing 32.8ft in the air, over the ‘South Seitah’ region of Mars. 

Fly Thirteen September 5, 2021 by flying 690ft for 160.5 seconds, climbing 26ft over one particular ridgeline over the ‘South Seitah’ region of Mars. 

Fly Fourteen October 25, 2021 by flying a ‘short hop’ of 6.5ft (2m) to test out higher rpm settings. The aircraft flew at 1mph for 23 seconds, at an altitude 16ft (5m).

Fly Fifteen November 6, 2021 by flying back towards its original landing site. The flight lasted 128 seconds and was at 11mph.

Take Flight Sixteen November 20, 2021 by travelling 381ft (116m) for a total of 108 seconds at an estimated 3mph.

Fly Seventeen December 5, 2021 by flying back toward the Wright Brothers Field at the Octavia E. Butler landing site. At 6mph (614ft) it flew an impressive 117 seconds. 

Flight Eighteen: On December 15, Ingenuity flew for 124.3 seconds, covering 754ft and cruising along at 15.6 miles per hour. 

NASA used it for Perky’s first visit after several complicated and difficult test flights. 

Ingenuity completed so far 18 flights. More are planned for next year. 

Samuels states that Perseverance will now explore the Delta formed billions of Years ago in Jezero Crater.

The theory is that the delta was formed by the sediment of an ancient river, which carried the water into the lake.

Samuels stated, “It’s great to have a role in making history and enabling a Mars Sample Return campaign,”

“What motivates engineers and scientists on another planet to discover more is what it offers.” 

Perseverance’s Mars mission has as its main objective astrobiology. This includes the search for evidence of ancient microbial existence. 

It will provide information about the past and geology of Mars, open the door to human exploration, and it will be the first mission ever to locate and preserve Martian regolith and rock.

Samuels said that seeing the first sample of rock core was one of his favorite moments. He particularly enjoyed “looking in to see it being a success.”

“We cannot wait to send them on a future mission, to bring them back to Earth to see if they show any signs of ancient living.”

Samuels shared that one of her top highlights was being with the helicopter team, and seeing the first powered flight from another planet.

Ingenuity arrived on Mars attached to the belly of Perseverance, which touched down on Mars on February 18 after a nearly seven-month journey through space. 

Ingenuity’s historic first flight was made on April 19, 2021. This marked Ingenuity as the first controlled powered flight on another planet.

The helicopter is covered in a little bit of fabric from the Wright Brothers’ first controlled powered flight, which took place on Earth in 1903. 

“Few people thought that we’d make it to flight 1, and even fewer to five.” We didn’t think we could make it that far,” said Teddy Tzanetos, Ingenuity Team Lead at JPL. 

On the journey to accumulate over half an hour aloft Ingenuity endured eight months of bitter winter and was able to operate out of nine Martian airports. 

“The continued operations of this aircraft speak to the durability and diligence of its design, as well as the passion and hard work of our small operations staff.”

On August 6, the core mission to study Martian soil was stopped by the Rovers. The rock proved too soft for the crew.

The latest sample, its sixth, comes from a rugged dune patch called ‘Séítah,’ the Navajo word meaning ‘amongst the sand’.

A range of rocks with many layers can be found in the region, suggesting that once-flowing water might have been present.

The space agency tweeted that layered rocks such as this are often formed in water and could hold clues to their past environment. 

In the 10 months since it arrived it has completed a number of firsts and records, according to NASA, which includes the longest drive in a Martian day

NASA reports that it has set a few records in the 10 months it’s been on Mars, including the longest Martian day drive, among others.

So far more than 100,000 photos have been shared by the rover team since it landed on the planet in February

Since its landing on Mars in February, more than 100,000 photographs have been posted by the Rover Team.

Images of Red Planet have been captured by the rover, which includes photos of its surroundings, the soil, rock formations and of the helicopter.

Since February, when the Rover team landed on Mars in February 2018, more than 100,000 photographs have been posted by them.

Perseverance will be required to find fossilised microbial lives from Mars’ past, and to gather rock samples for future mission to Earth. 

These instruments, which are mounted in the turrets of the Rover’s spacecraft, can be used to identify chemical and mineral compositions and search for organic matter. They also help us better understand our planet’s geological history.


NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, launched by NASA in 2020, was designed to find signs of early life on Mars in order to aid scientists in better understanding how Earth evolved in its earliest years.

Named Perseverance, the main car-sized rover is exploring an ancient river delta within the Jezero Crater, which was once filled with a 1,600ft deep lake.

It is believed that the region hosted microbial life some 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago and the rover will examine soil samples to hunt for evidence of the life.

Nasa's Mars 2020 rover (artist's impression) is searching for signs of ancient life on Mars in a bid to help scientists better understand how life evolved on our own planet

Nasa’s Mars 2020 robot (artist’s impression), is looking for signs of old life on Mars, in an effort to better help scientists understand the evolution of life on Earth.

The $2.5 billion (£1.95 billion) Mars 2020 spaceship launched on July 30 with the rover and helicopter inside – and landed successfully on February 18, 2021.

Perseverance reached the top of the crater to collect small samples, which are then returned to Earth.

In partnership with the European Space Agency, a second mission may be flown to the surface of the moon and will return samples.

This concept art shows the Mars 2020 rover landing on the red planet via NASA's 'sky-crane' system

This concept artwork shows Mars 2020’s landing on Mars using NASA’s Sky-crane system