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Perseverance rover spies its shadow on Mars (photo)

This mosaic was created by Ken Kremer using two color raw images taken by the Perseverance Mars rover’s front left hazcam on March 6, 2021, after a short drive from the “Octavia E. Butler Landing” touchdown site. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ken Kremer/Space UpClose)

The otherworldly photos from Mars' newest robotic resident keep rolling in.

NASA's Perseverance rover, which touched down inside the 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, captured some nice shots of its own shadow over the weekend with its hazard-avoidance cameras.

Space UpClose's Ken Kremer stitched two of those pictures into a striking mosaic (opens in new tab) that shows the outline of the rover and the rubbly terrain it has just begun to explore.

Related: NASA's Mars Perseverance rover mission to the Red Planet in photos 

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Perseverance is the centerpiece of the $2.7 billion Mars 2020 mission, which will search for signs of ancient life on Jezero's floor and collect and cache dozens of samples for future return to Earth. The car-sized rover is getting up to speed nicely; instrument checkouts are going well, and the robot has conducted its first few drives on the Red Planet's surface.

Perseverance has covered about 230 feet (70 meters) on Mars so far, mission team members said via Twitter Monday evening (opens in new tab) (March 8). Its latest drive served to scout out a potential flight zone for Ingenuity, the 4-lb. (1.8 kilograms) helicopter that traveled to the Red Planet on Perseverance's belly.

Getting Ingenuity aloft is the first big order of business for the Mars 2020 mission. After the little chopper finishes its technology-demonstrating flights, Perseverance will begin its science and sample-collecting work in earnest, rover team members have said.

The Mars 2020 team makes all of Perseverance's photos publicly available here (opens in new tab). As of Monday evening, there were 8,802 images to gawk at, including high-resolution 360-degree panoramas of the area near the landing site, which was recently named after renowned sci-fi author Octavia Butler, and stunning shots of the rover's dramatic sky-crane touchdown. 

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There (opens in new tab)" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook. 

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Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com (opens in new tab) and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.