Spot the Mars Rover Family Portrait Perseverance Took to the Red Planet

The Perseverance rover has carried a "family portrait" of all the other rovers that came before it to the surface of Mars.

The decal, which is bolted to the top of the rover, depicts Perseverance and its five siblings.

The vehicles are lined up from left to right in the order that they touched down on the planet. These are Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, and Perseverance.

Can you spot the Mars family portrait below?

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The decal can just about be spotted in some of the thousands of photographs that Perseverance has sent back so far.

In the first photo in the slideshow above, the decal is shown on the bottom-left, as a black plate with white symbols dotted along it.

In the second image of the slideshow above, the five vehicles are shown facing to the right. It was taken by Perseverance's Right Mastcam-Z camera on Wednesday.

Another tiny dot is also seen to the right of Perseverance in the second photo. This is the Ingenuity helicopter, which is currently being carried around by Perseverance.

Ingenuity is part of NASA's attempt to test the first powered flight on another planet. NASA aims to test it some time in the spring, once Perseverance rolls to a suitable location.

Moogega Cooper, a planetary protection engineer at NASA's JPL lab, posted a photo on Twitter of the five-rover decal—which she called a "family portrait"—being packaged before it was bolted onto Perseverance ahead of last year's launch. She assured followers it was "biologically clean."

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

— Dr. Moogega (무지개) Cooper (@moogega) February 22, 2021

Sojourner touched down on Mars in 1997 as part of the Pathfinder mission. As the first remote wheeled vehicle to ever be used on another planet, it laid the groundwork for all the rovers that followed it.

The mission was designed to show it was possible to conduct science on Mars in a low-cost way. Sojourner, which was only planned to last a week, ended up working for 83 days.

Spirit and Opportunity landed in 2004 as part of the same mission. Like Sojourner, they bounced rather than touched down on Mars using airbags. Data from the two rovers eventually suggested Mars had a wet past, based on camera images and spectrometer information.

Again, both rovers far exceeded their planned mission length, this time by a much wider margin. NASA had only wanted them to last 90 days, but Spirit operated up until March 22 2010.

Opportunity lasted 15 years—much longer than NASA's original 90-day plan—until its final communication was beamed back to Earth after it was engulfed by a Martian sandstorm.

Curiosity landed on Mars in 2012 as part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission. The car-sized rover still operates to this day. In January, Curiosity passed its three thousandth "sol"—or Martian day—on Mars.