CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA on Monday released the first high-quality video of a spacecraft landing on Mars, a three-minute trailer showing the enormous orange and white parachute hurtling open and the red dust kicking up as rocket engines lowered the rover to the surface.
The footage was so good — and the images so breathtaking — that members of the rover team said they felt like they were riding along.
“It gives me goose bumps every time I see it, just amazing,” said Dave Gruel, head of the entry and descent camera team.
The Perseverance rover landed last Thursday near an ancient river delta in Jezero Crater to search for signs of ancient microscopic life. After spending the weekend binge-watching the descent and landing video, the team at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, shared the video at a news conference.
“These videos and these images are the stuff of our dreams,“ said Al Chen, who was in charge of the landing team.
Six off-the-shelf colour cameras were devoted to entry, descent and landing, looking up and down from different perspectives. All but one camera worked. The lone microphone turned on for landing failed, but NASA got some snippets of sound after touchdown: the whirring of the rover’s systems and wind gusts.
Flight controllers were thrilled with the thousands of images beamed back — and also with the remarkably good condition of NASA’s biggest and most capable rover yet. It will spend the next two years exploring the dry river delta and drilling into rocks that may hold evidence of life 3 billion to 4 billion years ago. The core samples will be set aside for return to Earth in a decade.
NASA added 25 cameras to the $3 billion mission — the most ever sent to Mars. The space agency’s previous rover, 2012’s Curiosity, managed only jerky, grainy stop-motion images, mostly of terrain. Curiosity is still working. So is NASA’s InSight lander, although it’s hampered by dusty solar panels.
They may have company in late spring, when China attempts to land its own rover, which went into orbit around Mars two weeks ago.
Deputy project manager Matt Wallace said he was inspired several years ago to film Perseverance’s harrowing descent when his young gymnast daughter wore a camera while performing a backflip.
Some of the spacecraft systems — like the sky crane used to lower the rover onto the Martian surface — could not be tested on Earth.
“So this is the first time we’ve had a chance as engineers to actually see what we designed,” Wallace told reporters.
Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s science mission chief, said the video and also the panoramic views following touchdown “are the closest you can get to landing on Mars without putting on a pressure suit.”
The images will help NASA prepare for astronaut flights to Mars in the decades ahead, according to the engineers.
There’s a more immediate benefit.
“I know it’s been a tough year for everybody,” said imaging scientist Justin Maki, “and we’re hoping that maybe these images will help brighten people’s days.”
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
New Mars image from rover landing site shows the red planet in high definition – CTV News
The Perseverance rover has had a chance to settle in on Mars since landing last Thursday, so it’s doing what every new resident does these days — sending back photos of its new home.
In this case, it’s a steady stream of amazing imagery from another planet.
The rover’s Mastcam-Z instrument, a pair of zoomable color cameras, returned 142 images of its landing site on February 21. The teams at NASA stitched them together to create the instrument’s first 360-degree panorama.
This is the first high-definition look at Jezero Crater, the site of a 3.9 billion-year-old dry lake bed where the rover will search for signs of ancient life over the next two years.
In the image, the crater rim and the cliff face of an ancient river delta can be seen in the distance. It’s not unlike images shared previously by NASA’s Curiosity rover of its exploration site in Gale Crater.
“We’re nestled right in a sweet spot, where you can see different features similar in many ways to features found by Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity at their landing sites,” said Jim Bell, principal investigator of the Mastcam-Z instrument at Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, in a statement.
Perseverance also sent back a panorama using its Navcams, or navigation cameras, over the weekend.
Mastcam-Z is a new feature on Perseverance that builds off of lessons learned from the Curiosity rover’s Mastcam instrument. Curiosity’s Mastcam has two cameras with a fixed focal length, while Mastcam-Z has zooming capability.
These two cameras are like high-definition eyes on Perseverance as she shares her view with a team of scientists and engineers at home.
They sit on the rover’s mast, reaching eye level for a person who stands just over 6 and a half feet tall. The cameras are 9.5 inches apart to allow for stereo vision.
The color imagery produced by Mastcam-Z is a lot like the quality you would expect from your own digital HD camera, NASA officials said. These cameras can not only zoom but also can focus to capture video, panoramas and 3D images.
This will allow scientists on the mission’s team to examine objects that are both close and far away from the rover.
In the panorama, details as small as 0.1 to 0.2 inches across can be seen if an object is near the rover, while those between 6.5 to 10 feet across in the distance are also visible.
These capabilities will aid the overall goals of the mission in both understanding the geologic history of the crater and identifying the types of rock that the rover’s other instruments should study. The views afforded by Mastcam-Z will also help scientists determine which rocks they should collect samples from that will eventually be returned to Earth by future missions.
The team working on the Mastcam-Z instrument will share more details about the panorama Thursday, February 25 at 4 p.m. ET on NASA’s website and social media accounts.
The best images from NASA's Perseverance rover so far – CTV News
Almost as soon as NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars it was beaming back images of its surroundings.
The first pictures were black and white and a little grainy. They were soon followed by video and high definition images of the rocks, ridges and the rover itself.
Here’s a collection of some of the best images to come from Perseverance’ so far.
This is the first image NASA’s Perseverance rover sent back after touching down on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. The view, from one of Perseverance’s Hazard Cameras, is partially obscured by a dust cover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)
Perseverance’s shadow can be seen in this image, the first one in colour sent by the rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)
As a teaser to some of the ground-breaking video to come, NASA released this image of Perseverance being gently lowered onto Mars’s surface during its descent on Feb. 18. (NASA via AP)
In video sent back by Perseverance, we can see the spacecraft’s parachute open, revealing a mix of white and orange markings on the inside. These were later revealed to be part of secret message left by NASA systems engineer Ian Clark. Clark used binary code to spell out “Dare Mighty Things” on the stripes of the 21-metre parachute. Also included were the GPS coordinates of the mission’s headquarters in Pasadena, Calif. (NASA/JPL-Caltech via AP)
While we’ve seen panorama images from previous rover missions, Perseverance’s high definition cameras are revealing details from Mars like we’ve never seen before. (NASA/JPL-Caltech via AP)
This oddly-shaped rock carved by the elements on Mars’ surface was spotted near Perseverance’s landing zone and is an example of the high-quality images that we can expect from the rover’s cameras. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS)
ROVER ‘FAMILY HISTORY’
Along with loads of science instruments Perseverance is also boasting a decal showing the history of NASA’s rovers on Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS)
TRIBUTE TO DESCENT STAGE
“A moment of respect for the descent stage,” NASA tweeted from the Perseverance’s twitter account after about a week after the landing. The image above shows a smoke plume from where the descent stage (the part of the spacecraft that lowered Perseverance gently to Mars’ surface) made its “intentional surface impact.” (@NASAPersevere/Twitter)
Dispatches from Mars: Perseverance rover sends images – Photos – UPI.com
NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using its left Mastcam-Z camera on Thursday. Mastcam-Z is a pair of cameras located high on the rover’s mast. Photo courtesy of NASA |
Perseverance documents the Martian surface. Photo courtesy of NASA |
The Martian surface is documented is detail from Perseverance. Photo courtesy of NASA |
The navigation cameras aboard the Mars rover captured this view of the rover’s deck on Monday. This view provides a look at PIXL (the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry), one of the instruments on the rover’s stowed arm. Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech
This panorama, made by the navigation cameras aboard Perseverance, was stitched together from six individual images after they were sent back to Earth. Subsequent missions, currently under consideration by NASA in cooperation with the European Space Agency, would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these cached samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis. Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech
This is the first high-resolution, color image to be sent back by the Hazard Cameras (Hazcams) on the underside of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover after its landing on February 18. Photo courtesy of NASA |
This high-resolution still image, from the camera aboard the descent stage, is part of a video taken by several cameras as NASA’s Perseverance rover touched down on Mars. Photo courtesy of NASA |
Perseverance can be seen falling through the Martian atmosphere in the descent stage, its parachute trailing behind, in this image taken on Thursday by the High-Resolution Imaging Experiment camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The ancient river delta, which is the Perseverance mission’s target, can be seen entering Jezero Crater from the left. Photo courtesy of NASA |
An illustration depicts the rover driving in the foreground across the plain of Jezero Crater, where the robotic explorer landed safely. Image courtesy of NASA
An image showing where Perseverance Mars rover landed is shown during a NASA Perseverance rover mission post-landing update, on February 18, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA |
Members of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover team watch in mission control as the first images arrive moments after the spacecraft successfully touched down on Mars. Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA |
The first photos taken by NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover after landing on the Martian surface. A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. Photo courtesy of NASA |
These computer simulations show Perseverance landing on the Martian surface. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, paving the way for human exploration of the Red Planet and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith. Image courtesy of NASA |
In this illustration of its descent to Mars, the spacecraft carrying NASA’s Perseverance rover slows down using the drag generated by its motion in the Martian atmosphere. Hundreds of critical events must execute precisely on time for the rover to land on Mars safely. Entry, descent, and landing, or “EDL,” begins when the spacecraft reaches the top of the Martian atmosphere, traveling nearly 12,500 mph. The cruise stage separates about 10 minutes before entering into the atmosphere, leaving the aeroshell, which encloses the rover and descent stage, to make the trip to the surface. Image courtesy of NASA |
An illustration of Perseverance on Mars, launched from Earth in July. It is the fifth rover to successfully reach Mars, and is the first of three that may return rocks samples to Earth. Image courtesy of NASA |
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