Nasa has released a stunning video what it calls ‘never seen before’ of its Perseverance rover’s last minute descent and landing on Mars.
The video chronicles major milestones during the final minutes of its entry, descent and landing (EDL) on the Red Planet on February 18 as the spacecraft plummeted, parachuted, and rocketed toward the surface of Mars, said space agency in a statement.
Engineers have installed seven cameras to the rover to record the things on Mars and its journey to the planet as well.
You might have seen photos from Mars, but have you seen high-speed video?
— NASA (@NASA) February 23, 2021
“Now we finally have a front-row view to what we call ‘the seven minutes of terror’ while landing on Mars,” announces Michael Watkins, director of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.
“From the explosive opening of the parachute to the landing rockets’ plume sending dust and debris flying at touchdown, it’s absolutely awe-inspiring.”
The footage from high-definition cameras aboard the spacecraft starts 7 miles (11 kilometers) above the surface, showing the supersonic deployment of the most massive parachute ever sent to another world and ends with the rover’s touchdown in the crater.
“We put the EDL camera system onto the spacecraft not only for the opportunity to gain a better understanding of our spacecraft’s performance during entry, descent, and landing, but also because we wanted to take the public along for the ride of a lifetime – landing on the surface of Mars,” said Dave Gruel, lead engineer for Mars 2020 Perseverance’s EDL camera and microphone subsystem at JPL.
“I’ve been waiting 25 years for the opportunity to see a spacecraft land on Mars. It was worth the wait. Being able to share this with the world is a great moment for our team.” said Matt Wallace, Mars 2020 Perseverance deputy project manager at JPL.
The US is also preparing for an eventual human mission to the planet sometime in the 2030s, though planning remains very preliminary