The Perseverance spacecraft has already gained worldwide fame by successfully landing on Mars and even sending high quality photo and video material from the planet to NASA.
But it still hides some secrets, such as the message encrypted in the parachute and another detail that went almost unnoticed about the vehicle: a kind of “family photo” that the vehicle carries attached to its exterior.
The drawings were discovered after the publication of some photos of herself taken by Perseverance last week. In one of the images, it is possible to see white illustrations at the bottom of the probe. However, at first, no one knew what the symbols really meant.
The answer came quickly: it is a drawing of previous missions that were successful in exploring Mars, in a kind of homage to the agency’s legacy and the current space mission.
Meet the family
The sequence of illustrations respects the chronological order of previous missions. The first of them, from left to right, is Sojourner – the first rig to walk on Martian soil, in 1997. After it, the Spirit and Opportunity vehicles, which are “twins”, were sent between 2003 and 2004 to seek evidence of water on Mars.
Next is the Curiosity probe, one of the most popular, which landed in 2012 and is still studying a crater on Martian soil. Finally, Perseverance and the Ingenuity helicopter are listed, who went on the mission together. The first flights, however, should only start after a few months.
After the discovery, one of the NASA Jet Propulsion LAB (JPL) engineers, Moogega Cooper, shared on her Twitter profile a photo of the plate’s production, moments before it was attached to Perseverance.
It is worth remembering that only large NASA missions were included in the tribute – probes from other countries or even smaller launches ended up being left out.