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NASA’s Mars rover signs up with Google Photos, sort of

It’s been six quick months since NASA’s Perseverance rover landed in spectacular fashion on the surface of Mars with the trailblazing Ingenuity helicopter tucked under its belly.

A Mars Rover Looks Back | Google Photos

Perseverance has snapped more than 125,000 photos of its surroundings using its many built-in cameras, then beamed the images back to Earth for closer inspection by scientists and space fans.

To celebrate the half-year milestone, Google has imagined what it would be like if Perseverance had its own Google Photos account by presenting the results in a fun video that it shared on Wednesday.

Set to Jerry Herman’s Put On Your Sunday Clothes — a song that should be familiar to WALL-E fans — the video incorporates some of Google Photos’ many features, organizing the numerous images into different categories, among them “shadow selfies,” “landscapes,” “rocks,” and, ahem, “additional rocks.” Yes, rocks feature heavily in the Perseverance rover mission.

Google’s video also includes a short clip of the extraordinarily clear footage captured during Perseverance’s descent to the Martian surface in February.

Google Photo’s search function also appears in the video, letting you look for images linked to keywords. Keen to raise a smile, the first search term entered is “martians,” which of course returns no results. “Water” also draws a blank, though hopefully that’ll change by the end of the mission. However, when “dunes” is entered, the page populates with endless images of sandy hills and similar land formations.

In the “people and pets” section, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter pops up, as does Curiosity, NASA’s other functioning Mars rover that landed on the red planet in 2012.

Perseverance is continuing to explore inside Jezero Crater, an ancient lakebed that scientists believe could contain signs of past life on Mars. As part of its explorations, the rover was recently supposed to drill a sample of rock for return to Earth on a later mission, but the vehicle’s collection tube was unable to retain the material because it was too loose. The team is now looking for a new drilling location where the rock is of a type that’s more likely to stay inside the collection tube.

In the meantime, Perseverance will keep taking lots of photos of its surroundings, sending them back to Earth for everyone to enjoy.

For tips and tricks on how to get the best out of Google Photos, check out Digital Trends’ handy guide.

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Trevor Mogg
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