Since its profitable touchdown on February 18 in Jezero Crater, mission scientists for the Perseverance rover have been offering updates on the standing of the rover, and to date all the pieces appears to proceed to go nicely. Immediately, NASA held a media briefing to point out the wonderful video footage of the touchdown, new pictures from the floor and even the first-ever audio!
“For many who marvel the way you land on Mars – or why it’s so troublesome – or how cool it could be to take action – you want look no additional,” mentioned performing NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk. “Perseverance is simply getting began, and already has offered a number of the most iconic visuals in area exploration historical past. It reinforces the outstanding stage of engineering and precision that’s required to construct and fly a automobile to the Crimson Planet.”
“This video of Perseverance’s descent is the closest you may get to touchdown on Mars with out placing on a stress go well with,” mentioned Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA affiliate administrator for science. “It ought to develop into necessary viewing for younger men and women who not solely wish to discover different worlds and construct the spacecraft that can take them there, but additionally wish to be a part of the various groups attaining all of the audacious targets in our future.”
After the first three raw Hazcam images have been launched simply minutes after landing, 4 extra have been made public, and they are amazing. One reveals a shocking coloration view of the rover from above whereas it was descending to the bottom on cables connected to the descent stage for the sky crane maneuver. That picture is a part of the brand new video taken by the cameras through the descent stage, referred to as Entry, Descent and Touchdown (EDL).
One other coloration picture confirmed pitted rocks subsequent to one of many rover’s wheels on the bottom, one other confirmed a view to the horizon, and the fourth unimaginable photograph, a nonetheless from the video, captured the rover hanging beneath its parachute, as seen by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
As of now, 2,861 raw images have been launched, from the rover’s Hazcam and Navcam cameras. These cameras are a lot newer than those on Curiosity, and it reveals within the photographs, that are amazingly detailed for typically lower-res pictures. Since they’re so good, the high-res ones nonetheless to come back from the opposite Mastcam-Z cameras ought to be spectacular.
NASA additionally launched the first-ever audio recorded on the floor of Mars, recorded on Feb. 20, 2021. Within the first set, sounds from the rover itself dominate. Within the second set, the sound was filtered to make sounds from Mars extra audible. There’s a little wind within the second set. You possibly can hear them beneath:
“We put the EDL digicam system onto the spacecraft not just for the chance to realize a greater understanding of our spacecraft’s efficiency throughout entry, descent, and touchdown, but additionally as a result of we wished to take the general public alongside for the experience of a lifetime – touchdown on the floor of Mars,” mentioned Dave Gruel, lead engineer for Mars 2020 Perseverance’s EDL digicam and microphone subsystem at JPL. “We all know the general public is fascinated with Mars exploration, so we added the EDL Cam microphone to the automobile as a result of we hoped it may improve the expertise, particularly for visually-impaired area followers, and have interaction and encourage folks world wide.”
Perseverance additionally has a companion, a small drone-like helicopter known as Mars Helicopter, or because it’s higher identified, Ingenuity. The mission workforce simply received its first radio signal from the helicopter, indicating that it’s in good well being. The downlink arrived the identical day at 3:30 pm PST (6:30 pm EST) by way of a connection by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Ingenuity is at present nonetheless connected to the bottom of the rover, and can stay there for the subsequent 30-60 days.
Within the coming weeks, Ingenuity will conduct a sequence of quick take a look at flights that can regularly get longer and better. If it really works, it is going to be the first-ever powered flight within the Martian ambiance, or the ambiance of another planet.
“There are two big-ticket objects we’re on the lookout for within the knowledge: the state of cost of Ingenuity’s batteries in addition to affirmation the bottom station is working as designed, commanding heaters to show on and off to maintain the helicopter’s electronics inside an anticipated vary,” mentioned Tim Canham, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter operations lead at JPL. “Each look like working nice. With this constructive report, we are going to transfer ahead with tomorrow’s cost of the helicopter’s batteries.”
“We’re in uncharted territory, however this workforce is used to that,” mentioned MiMi Aung, venture supervisor for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at JPL. “Nearly each milestone from right here by the top of our flight demonstration program shall be a primary, and every has to succeed for us to go on to the subsequent. We’ll get pleasure from this excellent news for the second, however then we have now to get again to work.”
Perseverance’s main mission is to seek for proof of historic microbial life. Jezero Crater was as soon as a lake just a few billion years in the past, and the rover will research the sediments, carbonates and clays which can be nonetheless current. There’s even an previous river delta, which the rover landed near, that was fashioned by a river that after emptied into the lake.
Keep tuned for extra pictures and updates as they develop into obtainable!
Perseverance was launched on July 30, 2020 onboard an Atlas V 541 rocket, from Cape Canaveral Air Power Station in Florida.
Extra details about Perseverance is accessible on the mission website.