The Perseverance Rover has landed on Mars and with it a new souvenir! The rover includes a geocaching trackable that when logged, will earn you a souvenir for your profile. In addition to this new souvenir, we’re excited to announce a launch of our very own: the Geocaching HQ Mars rover landing page! Explore the rover, read about geocaching’s history in space, and learn how to log the trackable all on this interactive page.
Keep reading to learn about the first interplanetary trackable and how to log it in the coming weeks!
On February 18, 2021, NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover touched down on the red planet. It now begins its mission of collecting surface samples and testing new technologies to inform future robotic and human exploration. One of the steps Perseverance will be taking is calibrating its cameras, and that’s where geocaching comes in!
The geocaching trackable code is specially printed on a one-inch, unique, glass disk that is part of the rover’s calibration target. Cameras and other tools on the rover use calibration targets to determine accurate colors, brightness, focus, and other information. This calibration target is specifically for the SHERLOC’s WATSON camera. The SHERLOC instrument is a spectrometer on the rover’s arm that uses laser light to classify minerals and look for organic compounds. WATSON, its sidekick camera system, is used for engineering, operations and science imaging on the surface of Mars.
Since the tracking code is on the WATSON camera’s calibration target, once Perseverance lands on Mars, the camera will take a picture of the tracking code itself and send that picture back to Earth. You can log the Mars Perseverance Rover trackable by finding the code in that picture. Note: It may take several weeks for the photo to be taken and sent back to Earth.
Once you log the trackable, you’ll earn a new souvenir for your profile to celebrate the first interplanetary trackable!
Space travel can be challenging and missions do not always go according to plan; because of that, the exact date of the camera calibration has not been determined. So, be sure to follow along via our newsletter, Facebook, and Instagram to be the first to know when the trackable is live!