The National Aeronautics and Space Administration for long has been pinning its hope on the Perseverance Mars Rover for more insights on the Red Planet. In a recent video released by the space agency, the Perseverance Mars Rover has safely touched down on the surface of Mars on February 18. The video released by NASA (in a press conference on Monday) highlights the spaceship landing as well as the surface of Mars in high quality, right from the white parachute opening to the blowing of red dust as the rocket engines lowered and landed on the surface of the planet.
NASA claimed this to be the “biggest, heaviest, cleanest, and most sophisticated six-wheeled robot ever launched into space.” The rover has landed close to an ancient river delta in Jezero Crater where it will look for the signs of ancient microscopic life. According to Al Chen, in charge of the landing team, “these videos and these images are the stuff of our dreams.” Similarly, Dave Gruel, head of the entry and descent camera team said that the video and image quality is good and therefore, the visuals are breathtaking. It is to note that the rover was initially equipped with six off-the-shelf cameras to note the entry, descent and landing of the rover from different perspectives. However, by the time the rover reached near the surface of the red planet, only one camera worked. Infact, the lone microphone that has been placed for landing also failed. The space agency was still able to get some snippets of sound as the rover touched down. These sounds included the whirring of the rover’s systems and gusting wind.
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The Perseverance Mars Rover will remain there for the next two years where it will explore the dry river delta. The rover will be drilling into rocks that are expected to have some evidence of life 3 billion to 4 billion years ago. After inspection, some core samples will be collected and will be brought back to Earth in a decade. To be sure, 25 cameras were added by NASA to this $3 billion mission as its previous rover, 2012’s Curiosity took images that were jerky, grainy stop-motion images. Curiosity is still working along with NASA’s InSight lander.
According to Matt Wallace, Deputy project manager, the inspiration to film Perseverance’s harrowing descent came to him several years ago when his young gymnast daughter put on a camera as she performed a backflip.