Mars rover sends home movie of daredevil descent to landing on red planet

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – NASA researchers on Monday revealed initial-of- a-kind home films of recently’s’ daredevil Mars rover landing, clearly revealing its supersonic parachute rising cost of living over the red planet and also a rocket-powered hovercraft reducing the scientific research laboratory on wheels to the surface area.

The video footage was tape-recorded on Thursday by a collection of cams placed at various angles of the multi-stage spacecraft as it brought the rover, called Perseverance, via the slim Martian ambience to a mild goal inside a large container called Jezero Crater.

Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA link manager for scientific research, called seeing the video footage “the closest you can get to landing on Mars without putting on a pressure suit.”

The video clip mosaic was bet press reporters adjusting in to an information instruction webcast from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Los Angeles 4 days after the historical landing of one of the most sophisticated astrobiology probe ever before sent out to one more globe.

NASA additionally offered a quick sound clip recorded by microphones on the rover after its arrival that consisted of the whispering of a light wind gust – the very first tape-recorded on the 4th planet from the sunlight.

JPL imaging researcher Justin Maki stated NASA’s fixed landing craft Understanding, which got here on Mars in 2018 to research study its deep inside, formerly determined seismic signals on the planet that were “acoustically driven” and after that “rendered as audio.”

But objective replacement task supervisor Matt Wallace stated he thought the Martian wind stood for the initial ambient noise straight tape-recorded on the surface area of Mars and also repeated for human beings.

The spacecraft’s mics fell short to gather able to be used sound throughout descent to the crater flooring. But they did grab a mechanical whirring from the rover after its arrival. Wallace stated he really hoped to document various other noises, such as the rover’s wheels grinding over the surface area and also its robot arm boring for examples of Martian rock.


But it was movie video footage from the spacecraft’s treacherous, self-guided trip via Martian skies to goal – an interval NASA has actually called “the seven minutes of terror” – that JPL’s group discovered especially striking.

“These videos, and these images are the stuff of our dreams,” Al Chen, head of the descent and also landing group, informed press reporters. JPL Director Mike Watkins stated designers invested much of the weekend break “binge-watching” the video footage.

The video clip, shot in shade at 75 frameworks a 2nd, reveals activity in liquid, dazzling movement from a number of angles, the initial such images ever before tape-recorded of a spacecraft landing on one more planet, Wallace stated.

One of one of the most remarkable minutes is of the red- and-white parachute being fired from a canon-like launch gadget right into the skies over the rover as the spacecraft is speeding towards the ground at almost 2 times the rate of noise.

The chute springtimes up, unfurls and also completely blows up in much less than 2 secs, without proof of tangling within its 2 miles (3.2 kilometres) of secure lines, Chen stated.

A downward-pointing cam reveals the thermal barrier dropping away and also a sweeping view of the butterscotch-colored Martian surface, showing up to change backward and forward as the spacecraft persuades under the parachute.

Seconds later on, an upward-pointed cam catches the rocket-powered “sky-crane” car, freshly rejected from the parachute, its thrusters shooting however the propellant plumes undetectable to the human eye while reducing the rover to a risk-free landing area on a harness of tethers.

A different cam reveals the reducing of the six-wheeled rover from the viewpoint of the skies crane, looking downward as Perseverance hangs from its cord harness simply over the surface area with streams of dirt rippling around it at goal. The skies crane is after that seen flying up and also far from the landing website after the harness cords are reduced.

A solitary still picture of the rover put on hold from the skies crane minutes prior to landing was launched by NASA on Friday in the middle of much excitement as a forerunner to the video clip revealed on Monday.

The just previous relocating video footage created of a spacecraft throughout a Mars landing was a relatively unrefined video clip shot from below the previous rover, Curiosity, throughout its descent to the planet’s surface area in 2012. That stop-motion-like series was contended 3.5 frameworks per secondly from a solitary angle that revealed the ground progressively obtaining closer however consisted of no pictures of the parachute or sky-crane maneuvers.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Cooney)