Touchdown! See NASA's first of its kind footage from Mars

It's all about Perseverance, NASA's next-gen Mars rover, this week as we cover landing, images and must-see video
Hello humans!

NASA did it again. Last Thursday, the agency's most ambitious and advanced rover, Perseverance, touched down on the surface of Mars. The 1-ton mobile science laboratory's six wheels softly planted in the soil of Jezero Crater -- an ancient lakebed that may have once been inhabited by Martian life. It's Perseverance's mission to sample soil from the crater and seek signs that our cosmic neighbor used to be much livelier...

This week, the email is all about Perseverance. It's wall-to-wall coverage of the wandering Martian lab. We have the rover's first images from the surface, as well as a top-down view of Percy as she was descending to the surface. And there's much more still to come. If you click the headline above, you'll be able to watch Monday's press conference, where NASA is promising to show us Mars "like we've never seen before." But first, we've got the mailbag.

📧The Science Mailbag📧

Iain asks: Could you tell me what precautions Earth rocketeers take to ensure that, as far as we know, zero bugs are launched by us into space?

A really pertinent question this week, Iain, given we've just put another rover on the surface of Mars. One of the key considerations for NASA before launching Perseverance was to ensure it did not carry any stowaway microbes or bugs that might contaminate the planet. The US is a party to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, so it is obligated to avoid harmful contamination of other celestial bodies. Using Perseverance as an example, there are limits to how much contamination is allowed. You can find that information here. Not all bacteria is eliminated and there is a tiny risk we carry in these missions, so there are additional limits on where rovers can explore, so-called "special regions" on Mars. These regions may contain water or water ice in some form and are more prone to contamination. Perseverance will not be visiting any, but this has been a major consideration for its cousin, Curiosity. Scientists are thinking about these things and do care about keeping other planets pristine -- and particularly in this mission: any contamination might hurt our chances of finding signs of past life, which is one of Perseverance's main goals. Thanks Iain!

If you have a burning question, send me an email or a DM on Twitter and let's get you some answers. Have a great week!

Enim scientia et astra!
Jackson Ryan Jackson Ryan
Science Editor, CNET
Highlights: Perseverance rover nails historic Mars landing
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