NASA's Perseverance, the biggest and most advanced rover the agency has ever sent, landed on Mars Thursday to cries of jubilation from ground controllers at the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Minutes later, the rover sent back its first two images from the red planet, the AP reports. The first shows Perseverance's own shadow on the Martian surface; it landed in the Jezero Crater. The second is another image of the pockmarked surface of the planet.
Space.com notes that the photos were taken by hazard cameras attached to the rover and with the covers still attached to the camera lenses for their protection; they are black and white and grainy, and future images "will be much more impressive." NASA chose the Jezero Crater as the landing spot because scientists believe it was a lake when the planet was covered in water, and they think studying the rocks and sediment there can help them with the search for potential traces of past life on the planet. (Read more Perseverance stories.)