This is not a simulation. The Perseverance robotic all-terrain vehicle and the crane that lowered it photographed each other and the Martian soil in a way that made it possible to document the landing as if it were a landing on Earth. NASA: We wanted to share a once-in-a-lifetime experience with the public * Landing certificate step by step
NASA released for the first time a video of a landing on Mars in high quality as well as sound recordings of the wind on Mars as recorded for the first time by the microphone of 'Perseverance'.
The heat shield attached to the robotic all-terrain vehicle 'Perseverance' (Persistence), the vehicle itself and the crane that lowered it, photographed each other and the Martian soil in a way that made it possible to document the landing as if it were a landing on Earth.
The world's most intimate performance of the Mars landing begins about 230 seconds after the spacecraft entered the Red Planet's upper atmosphere at a speed of 20,100 km/h. The video opens with a black section, with the camera lens still covered inside the parachute compartment. In less than a second, the spaceship's parachute unfolds and becomes a compressed 46 x 66 cm roll of nylon, and other packaging.
At this point the spacecraft continued to descend with the help of a parachute canopy with a diameter of 21.5 meters. This is the largest canopy ever sent to Mars. At this stage the connection between the parachute and the spaceship creates great pressures on both.
"Now we finally have an up-close look at what we call the 'seven minutes of fear' when landing on Mars," said Michael Watkins, director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California (JPL), which manages the mission for the agency. From the opening of the parachute to the activation of the landing rockets that blow away dust and debris during landing, everything went smoothly. It's really awe-inspiring."
The landing of the Perseverance vehicle on Mars as seen in reality. This is not a simulation. Photo: NASA JPL
The video also shows the heat shield being dropped after protecting the Persistence ('Perseverance') from the high temperatures during its entry into the Martian atmosphere. In frames (photographs or video) from a downward-facing camera, the craft is seen gently swinging like a pendulum as the spacecraft's computer searches for a safe landing spot. At this point the parachute disconnected and 'Perseverance' falls in free fall and after a few seconds the engines were ignited to continue to slow down the speed of the spaceship.
Then, 80 seconds and 2,130 meters later, the cameras capture the crane lowering 'Perseverance' from it using cables. When the crane drops its engines so that it too moves away from the landing point. The thrust of the engines blew away dust and small rocks that had been in place for billions of years. This is the stage where you see that the image of the Martian soil becomes blurry.
"We put the EDL cameras on the spacecraft not only to get a better insight into the performance of our spacecraft during entry, descent and landing, but also because we wanted to take the public on a once-in-a-lifetime ride - landing on the surface of Mars," said Dave Grewell, lead engineer for the EDL camera. The EDL and the Mars 2020 microphone system (the operation under which 'Preservance' was launched). "We at JPL know that the public is fascinated by the field of Mars exploration, so we added the EDL Cam microphone to the vehicle because we hoped it would enhance the experience, especially for visually impaired space fans, as well as encourage people around the world to engage in science, mathematics and engineering."
The filming ends when the aluminum wheels of 'Perseverance' touch the surface at a speed of 2.6 km/h, then a pyrotechnic mechanism was activated that helped to disconnect the cables connecting it to the hovering descent stage. The descent phase climbs and then accelerates in a pre-planned maneuver.
"If this was an old Western movie, I'd say the descent stage is our hero as he slowly rides into the setting sun, but the heroes are actually here on Earth," said Matt Wallace, deputy project manager for Perserverance at Mars 2020. I waited 25 years for the chance to see a spacecraft land on Mars. It was worth the wait. Being able to share the experience with the world is a great moment for our team. "
Five commercial cameras located on three different spacecraft took part in the photography. Two cameras on the shell, which protected the rover on its journey, filmed the parachute inflating. A camera on the descent component (the crane) provided a downward view – including on the top of the rover – while two on the rover's chassis offered upward (toward the crane) and downward views to the ground.
The rover team continues its initial inspection of the Perservation systems and its immediate surroundings. Among other things, they will conduct tests for five of the rover's seven instruments and will conduct the first weather observations with the instrument Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer .
At the same time, NASA released a 360-degree panoramic image of the landing site in the Jezero Crater by the two cameras placed on the rover's mast - Mastcam-Z which will later provide the highest resolution image of the trajectory of 'Perseverance'.
This video of 'Perseverance' is the closest you'll get to landing on Mars without wearing a pressure suit," said Thomas Zorobuchan, NASA's science director. The video should become a must watch for young women and young men who not only want to explore other worlds and build the spacecraft that will take them there, but also want to be part of the diverse teams that achieve all the bold goals in our future."
The main goal of the 'Perservation' mission on Mars is research Astrobiological, including searching for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize Mars' geology and past climate changes, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and preserve Martian rock samples that will be brought back to Earth in the future.
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