Mars rover beams back first color images, selfie

Dangling above the surface of Mars:

A selfie photograph that NASA has now released, taken by its Perseverance rover just seconds before its touchdown on the red planet on Thursday, is being compared to some of the most iconic images ever taken in the history of spaceflight.

The clarity of the photo, the dust clouds, the sense motion... the mission's chief engineer, Adam Steltzner, is comparing it to Buzz Aldrin standing on the moon in 1969.

Aaron Stehura is a deputy lead for the Perseverance's landing team.

"I can definitely say that when we saw this image, I think we can flash it again, but seeing the rover hanging underneath the sky crane, underneath our rocket powered jet pack, I mean, this is something that we've never seen before. It was stunning and the team was awestruck. And, you know, there is just a feeling of victory that we were able to to capture this and share the world."

The image is one of several early color photos now released by NASA from the mission.

Next week NASA plans to release more photos, video, and even some audio from the planet's surface.

NASA says the rover is doing fine, and will spend the next few weeks unpacking and testing its equipment, including its drone helicopter.

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