Nasa’s Perseverance rover is halfway to Mars – but still has much more than half of its journey to go

The mission, which was launched on 30 July, has covered over 235.4 million kilometres.

“At 1:40 p.m. Pacific Time today, our spacecraft will have just as many miles in its metaphorical rearview mirror as it will out its metaphorical windshield,” said Julie Kangas, a navigator working on the Perseverance rover mission at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“While I don’t think there will be cake, especially since most of us are working from home, it’s still a pretty neat milestone. Next stop, Jezero Crater.”

However, despite having travelled halfway the distance between the Earth to the Red Planet, that does not mean that the journey is over halfway completed.

This is because of the Sun’s gravity; Perserverance has had to follow a curved trajectory rather than a straight line between the two planets in order to ensure that it is not dragged off-path.

“Although we’re halfway into the distance we need to travel to Mars, the rover is not halfway between the two worlds,” Kangas said.

“In straight-line distance, Earth is 26.6 million miles [42.7 million kilometers] behind Perseverance and Mars is 17.9 million miles [28.8 million kilometers] in front.”

At the point at which Perserverence lands on Mars, it will have travelled 470.8 million kilometres.

The rover is equipped with ‘PIXL’ (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry), which is an instrument attached to the end of Perserverence’s two-meter long arm.



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