NASA's Perseverance rover (opens in new tab) has brought the "family portrait" bumper sticker fad to a whole new world.
Raw images from the Perseverance rover, which safely landed on the surface of Mars last Thursday (Feb. 18), have revealed a small plaque featuring a lineup of little spacecraft.
At first glance, the small white decals may look like pixelated cats marching across the rover's deck. But upon closer inspection, the symbols appear to represent all of NASA's Mars rover missions that have made it to the surface (opens in new tab) of the Red Planet.
The rovers are lined up in the same order that they landed on the Red Planet: the Sojourner rover (opens in new tab) (1997), the twin Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit (opens in new tab) and Opportunity (opens in new tab) (2004), the Curiosity rover (opens in new tab) (2012) and Perseverance.
Also included is the Ingenuity helicopter (opens in new tab), which hitched a ride to Mars with Perseverance and will be the first to attempt to fly on another planet.
Moogega Cooper, planetary protection lead engineer for the Perseverance rover, tweeted a photo of the family portrait (opens in new tab) just before it was attached to to the rover at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where the rover was built.
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 pic.twitter.com/GSTfA896tQFebruary 22, 2021
Not pictured in the family portrait are the dozens of other landers (opens in new tab) that other space agencies have sent to Mars, or China's Tianwen-1 (opens in new tab) rover, which is scheduled to land on the Red Planet this summer.
Email Hanneke Weitering at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.