It was not surprising that the Perseverance Mars rover lost contact with Earth for 2 weeks. But, it is over after what was undoubtedly a long wait at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
A solar conjunction was the reason for contact loss. This is when the orbital paths of Earth, Mars and our sun were aligned between the planets. Until the conjunction is over, communication will not be possible via direct sight.
Perseverance Rover's Twitter account celebrated the return of contact by sharing a short video that gives us a view from the driver's seat of the multi-billion-dollar wheeled vehicle.
Actually, the drive took place before the conjunction which began in October. This is a very fast-paced look at the nearly 600-foot journey on Sept. 12, each frame being about 30 seconds apart. It shows what Perseverance did its 200th Martian day.
The rover follows the commands of drivers on Earth before it can drive. NASA JPL posts explain how. This first stretch is critical because it allows Perseverance to create a 3D map surrounding the rover.
You can also listen to some new sounds from Mars. NASA released a video Monday showing Perseverance's use of two microphones to record the planet's audio. It has captured almost 5 hours so far. While the video is more about the technology and how it was important to the mission, you can hear many clips from the Red Planet.
These recordings are especially notable as NASA has never sent microphones to Mars before. There's a lot to learn about Mars' atmosphere and sound movement, Martian rocks (which have been previously highlighted), and Perseverance instruments in this alien environment.
The image archive has a lot of new photos. Although you won't see much variety, Mars is your home. It is a deserted landscape of rocky rocks and has never been visited by humans. One of the missions' main thrusts is to investigate the possibility of Mars supporting life in the distant past.
If you still think space stuff is cool, and you want to see more, you can find a lot of it in the Perseverance archive, especially if it has been a few weeks since your last check in.