NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars is carrying an adorable ‘family portrait’ of Martian rovers


NASA’s Perseverance rover has brought the “family portrait” bumper sticker fad to a whole new world. 

Raw images from the Perseverance rover, which safely landed on the surface of Mars last Thursday (Feb. 18), have revealed a small plaque featuring a lineup of little spacecraft. 

At first glance, the small white decals may look like pixelated cats marching across the rover’s deck. But upon closer inspection, the symbols appear to represent all of NASA’s Mars rover missions that have made it to the surface of the Red Planet.

Related: 5 weird things Perseverance brought to Mars
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NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover mission

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Can you spot the family portrait in this view from Perseverance’s Navcam? (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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This annotated image shows the names of the Mars missions represented in the portrait. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space.com)

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The photo was taken on March 16, 2020 in a cleanroom at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center during final preparation for launch. A planetary protection engineer is swabbing and cleaning the surface. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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This artwork is etched onto a metal plate attached to the deck of the Mars Perseverance rover. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The rovers are lined up in the same order that they landed on the Red Planet: the Sojourner rover (1997), the twin Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity (2004), the Curiosity rover (2012) and Perseverance. 

Also included is the Ingenuity helicopter, which hitched a ride to Mars with Perseverance and will be the first to attempt to fly on another planet. 

Moogega Cooper, planetary protection lead engineer for the Perseverance rover, tweeted a photo of the family portrait just before it was attached to to the rover at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where the rover was built. 

Now that it’s out, here is a photo of the family portrait just before it was bolted on! (For those wondering if it was biologically clean, yes… yes it was!). #Mars2020 pic.twitter.com/GSTfA896tQFebruary 22, 2021

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Not pictured in the family portrait are the dozens of other landers that other space agencies have sent to Mars, or China’s Tianwen-1 rover, which is scheduled to land on the Red Planet this summer.

Email Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

Source: space.com

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