WASHINGTON — The Perseverance rover is in good situation on the floor of Mars, NASA officers stated Feb. 22, displaying off beautiful video from its touchdown on the pink planet final week.
At a briefing on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, mission leaders stated the rover was persevering with to carry out checkouts of assorted programs, together with deployments of its high-gain antenna and instrument mast, since touchdown in Jezero Crater Feb. 18.
“Perseverance is wholesome and persevering with with actions as we’ve got planning them over the primary few sols on the floor,” stated Jessica Samuels, Perseverance floor mission supervisor at JPL. A “sol” is a Martian day, almost 40 minutes longer than a terrestrial day.
These actions have included the deployments of the antenna and mast in addition to preliminary assessments of lots of its devices. “We’re glad to report they’re all performing nominally and as anticipated,” she stated of these devices. “We’re very excited to be fortunately on the floor and exercising our programs.”
The spotlight of the briefing was not a standing report on Perseverance however as a substitute the discharge of a video created from footage shot from a number of high-definition cameras mounted on the spacecraft throughout its entry, descent and touchdown (EDL) section of the mission. The video, closely promoted by NASA main as much as the briefing, included deployment of the spacecraft’s parachute, launch of its warmth protect and the decreasing of the rover to the floor by its “skycrane,” which flew away after the rover touched down.
“The response to the EDL cam movies has been completely superb round JPL,” stated Dave Gruel, Perseverance EDL digicam lead. “It provides me goose bumps each time I see it.”
The concept for together with the digicam system, deputy mission supervisor Matt Wallace stated, got here after watching video shot by his daughter, a gymnast, doing a again flip. “For a second, I had a glimpse of what it might be like if I may do a again flip,” he stated, prompting him to name Gruel about placing comparable cameras on Mars 2020. “That’s what led to this method.”
The mission added the cameras, commercially out there items from FLIR Methods with solely minor modifications, on a “do no hurt” foundation, Gruel stated, with no particular success necessities past that. “If we may even get only one picture or piece of knowledge again from EDL, we shouldn’t get upset and we needs to be excited.” The cameras, in truth, collected greater than 23,000 pictures, of which about 4,500 have been returned. These pictures have been launched within the mission’s online archive of raw imagery.
The system additionally included a microphone on the rover, however it failed to gather any audio throughout touchdown. Gruel stated a “communications error” between a tool that digitized the audio and the pc that saved it induced the info to be misplaced. Nevertheless, the microphone is engaged on the floor, and JPL launched audio it collected of rover noises and the Martian wind.
The EDL video was greater than only a public relations instrument. Engineers have used the imagery to review how the mission’s descent programs labored in comparison with modeling and assessments on the Earth. Allen Chen, the EDL lead for Perseverance, stated that these programs labored nicely aside from just a few very minor points, reminiscent of a spring within the warmth protect deployment system that got here free. “We did have a fairly clear run by entry, descent and touchdown,” he stated. “The touchdown system labored nice.”
Chen stated that the rover’s terrain relative navigation system, which in contrast pictures it took throughout descent with an onboard map to allow a exact touchdown, labored nicely. “We solely missed the focused pixel by about 5 meters,” he stated. “We actually confirmed that this method can do what we needed it to do in serving to us work out the place to go and go to a protected spot.”