NASA on Monday launched the first high-quality video of a spacecraft touchdown on Mars, a three-minute trailer exhibiting the huge orange and white parachute hurtling open and the pink mud kicking up as rocket engines lowered the rover to the floor.
The footage was so good — and the photographs so breathtaking — that members of the rover staff stated they felt like they have been using alongside.
“It gives me goose bumps every time I see it, just amazing,” stated Dave Gruel, head of the entry and descent digital camera staff.
The Perseverance rover landed final Thursday close to an historical river delta in Jezero Crater to seek for indicators of historical microscopic life. After spending the weekend binge-watching the descent and touchdown video, the staff at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, shared the video at a information convention.
“These videos and these images are the stuff of our dreams,” said Al Chen, who was in charge of the landing team.
Six off-the-shelf colour cameras were devoted to entry, descent, and landing, looking up and down from different perspectives. All but one camera worked. The lone microphone turned on for landing failed, but NASA got some snippets of sound after touchdown: the whirring of the rover’s systems and wind gusts.
Flight controllers were thrilled with the thousands of images beamed back — and also with the remarkably good condition of NASA’s biggest and most capable rover yet. It will spend the next two years exploring the dry river delta and drilling into rocks that may hold evidence of life 3 billion to 4 billion years ago. The core samples will be set aside for return to Earth in a decade.
NASA added 25 cameras to the $3 billion (roughly Rs. 21,710 crores) mission — the most ever sent to Mars. The space agency’s previous rover, 2012’s Curiosity, managed only jerky, grainy stop-motion images, mostly of terrain. Curiosity is still working. So is NASA’s InSight lander, although it’s hampered by dusty solar panels.
They may have company in late spring, when China attempts to land its own rover, which went into orbit around Mars two weeks ago.
Deputy project manager Matt Wallace said he was inspired several years ago to film Perseverance’s harrowing descent when his young gymnast daughter wore a camera while performing a backflip.
Some of the spacecraft systems — like the sky crane used to lower the rover onto the Martian surface — could not be tested on Earth.
“So this is the first time we’ve had a chance as engineers to actually see what we designed,” Wallace advised reporters.
Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s science mission chief, stated the video and in addition the panoramic views following landing “are the closest you can get to landing on Mars without putting on a pressure suit.”
The photographs will assist NASA put together for astronaut flights to Mars in the many years forward, in keeping with the engineers.
There’s a extra fast profit.
“I know it’s been a tough year for everybody,” stated imaging scientist Justin Maki, “and we’re hoping that maybe these images will help brighten people’s days.”
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