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‘Stuff of our dreams’: Hear what Mars has to say with NASA’s Perseverance rover

First high-quality video of Perseverance’s landing on Mars, was released by NASA on Monday morning. The 3-minute video clip displayed the spacecraft’s descent with huge white and orange parachutes dashing on the Martian surface, while the red dust arose in the air as the rocket engines moved the rover downwards to the ground.

It was a high-quality clip, and the pictures were so magnificient, which seemed to the NASA’s rover-team members as if they were traveling along.

The head of the entry and descent camera team, Dave Gruel said, “It gives me goosebumps everytime I see it, just amazing.”

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Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, Mike Watkins said that the breathtaking images and video clips are an exemplary outcome of the agency’s hardwork.
He told in an interview, “We have taken everyone alongwith us on our journeys across the Solar System, through the rings of Saturn, looking back at the ‘Pale Blue Dot’ and incredible panaromas on the surface of Mars. This is the first time we’ve been able to actually capture an event like the landing of a spacecraft on Mars.”
He further added, “We will learn something by looking at the performance of the vehicle in these videos. But a lot of it is also to bring you along on our journey.” 
One can just have a look at the spectacular video released by NASA in the following tweet: 

Perseverance rover had touched down on the Martian surface last Thursday. It had landed on the Jezero crater (which was an ancient lakebed), and its mission is to search for the traces of earlier existing microbes on Mars. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory released the video at a News Conference, after watching the video spree last weekend.

Al Chen, incharge of the landing team said, “These videos and these images are the stuff of our dreams.”

Reports suggest, that the cameras equipped in the spacecraft for tracking the descent and landing were off-the-shelf, strong and durable sports cameras, with next-to-no customization.

The cameras were set up in such way so as to capture the essential events – from the liberation of supersonic white and orange parachutes, through dispensing the spacecraft and aviation of the ‘sky crane’, all the way through landing and backpack’s jettison.

This nearly coincided with the last four minutes of the rover’s seven minute perilous descent to the Martian surface.
Dave explained, “We collected a little over 30 gigabytes of information, and over 23000 images of the vehicle descending down to the surface of Mars.”

Although, the single microphone employed on the spacecraft (for recording the sounds produced during landing) failed, yet NASA was able to record some parts of sound after landing. These sounds included the buzzing of the rover and blowing of strong winds.
Another tweet by NASA released those snippets of sound:

The team has somehow managed to operate a microphone on the surface, which has created a possibility that sounds produced during Perseverance’s explorations could be heard on the ground in the next few weeks.

The spectacular images of Perseverance’s landing that were radiated back to Earth,  gratified the flight controllers. In the next two years, the rover will explore the secrets of fossilized microbial life existing some 3 to 4 billion years ago on Mars. Essential samples from the discoveries would be collected and sent back to the Earth in a decade or more. 

This three-billion dollar mission (the most ever mission sent to Mars) consisted of 25 cameras equipped in the spacecraft.
Its predecessor, Curiosity (still in operation) sent to Mars in 2012, had earlier collected abrupt, flickery motionless images only. Similarly, the Insight Lander of NASA is in operation, though it is clogged by dusty Solar panels.

Later in the Spring, they may be accompanied by China’s rover which is planned to touch down on the Martian surface. Two weeks ago, the Chinese rover was sent to Mars’s orbit. 

The sky crane which helped to descend the rover on the Martian surface has never been tested before on the Earth.

Deputy project manager, Matt Wallace told that some years ago he was inspired to capture the perilous decent of Perseverance. He further said, “So this is the first time we’ve had a chance as engineers to actually see what we designed.”

NASA’s science mission chief, Thomas Zurbuchen said that the panaromic view and the video clip ensuing touchdown, “are the closest you can get to landing on Mars without putting a pressure suit.”

According to the engineers, these images captured by the rover would aid NASA in the coming years, to send astronaut flights to Mars.

Imaging scientist, Justin Maki said, “I know it’s been a tough year for everybody and we’re hoping that maybe these images will help brighten people’s days.”

Stuti Tripathi
I have keen interest in scientific discoveries and technological advancements. I'm always curious to learn more and more about our galaxies and typically love to read about astronomy.


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