Menopausal Mother Nature

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Cool video! Perseverance’s descent and touchdown on Mars

This new video from NASA/JPL-Caltech – released February 22, 2021 – shows the view from the Perseverance rover as it landed in Jezero Crater on Mars last week (February 18). The rover’s flashy new cameras were expected to deliver this rover’s-eye view of the landing process … and indeed they did. Isn’t it great when things work as they’re supposed to? The video was worth the wait, especially when you get to around 2:42, when Martian dust starts to flow as the rover sets down. Wow! Perseverance’s suite of technology has now provided us with the most detailed video and photo records of landing on a neighboring world. As Lori Glaze, who heads the Planetary Science Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, told reporters prior to the landing:

We’re going to be able to watch ourselves land for the first time on another planet.

Who knows what cool thing Perseverance will show us next, as its science begins?

How was the video obtained? The rover was equipped with an upward-pointing camera mounted on the back shell of the spacecraft (this capsule protecting the rover is called the aeroshell). The upward camera caught a look at the parachute opening that helped the rover land softly despite Mars’ thin air. Beneath the rover is a downward-pointing camera on the descent stage (a kind of rocket-powered jet pack that helped fly the rover to its landing site), which filmed its first touch-contact with the ground on Mars. NASA commented:

The audio embedded in the video comes from the mission control call-outs during entry, descent, and landing.

A split screen. Left: a red and white parachute is opening. Right: it appears fully deployed.

This is a parachute opening to ease the entry of a spacecraft on another world! Image via NASA/ JPL-Caltech.

Bottom line: New video from NASA’s Perseverance rover shows its descent and landing on the surface of Mars on February 18, 2021.

Read more: Touchdown! Perseverance lands successfully on Mars

Deborah Byrd