NASA on Monday released a spectacular video of its first-of-its-kind Perseverance robot landing on Mars after the mission’s arrival on the red planet on Thursday, in search of ancient life.
Just over three minutes long, the published video reveals the images of several cameras located in different places on the module, after its entry into the Martian atmosphere: one shows the deployment of the supersonic parachute, another, located under the robot, the Martian ground approaching, and two other views show the robot gradually deposited on the ground, suspended by three cables.
“This is the first time that we have been able to capture an event such as a landing on Mars,” Michael Watkins, director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where the rover was built, told a press conference. “It’s really fantastic”.
“These images and videos are what we have dreamed of for years,” added Allen Chen, who was in charge of the landing for NASA. They will be used by NASA teams to better understand what happens during such a landing.
The robot was protected by a heat shield as it entered the atmosphere at a speed of 20,000 km / h. We can also see this shield dropped on the surface of Mars on the video.
Eight retro-rockets then finished slowing the vehicle, and Martian dust can be seen propelled under their effect.
The cameras are standard commercial cameras, which have been added without being connected to the robot system so as not to disturb it.
The landing maneuver was perilous and the site chosen, the crater of Jezero, the most risky ever attempted, because of its relief.
Martian sound recorded by a microphone for the first time
NASA on Monday released a sound recorded by a microphone on Mars, a first made possible by the American rover Perseverance, which successfully landed on the red planet last week.
In the clip, we can hear a shrill sound produced by the rover, but also clearly the Martian wind. “Yes, you just heard a squall on the surface of Mars, captured by the microphone and sent back to Earth,” said Dave Gruel, head of this equipment for NASA. These are “the first sounds recorded on the surface of Mars,” he added at a press conference.
The American space agency also made hear the same sound, but with the noise of the rover attenuated.
Perseverance took home two microphones, one of which is located on the SuperCam science instrument, an ultra-sophisticated shoebox-sized camera.
“We are hopeful that we can continue to use these mics to capture sound,” said Dave Gruel. One of them can be used in particular to analyze the noise produced when the SuperCam, designed by the French, uses its laser to strike the rock.
The other microphone, which NASA hoped could record the sound during the landing phase, however, did not work at that time, she announced.
Previous missions had already attempted to send microphones to Mars, but never succeeded in fulfilling the objective.
NASA’s InSight robot, which arrived on Mars in November 2018, had recorded multiple seismic tremors, thanks to an ultrasensitive seismometer, which the Terrans were able to listen to.
The frequency of the vibrations was too low for the human ear and the jerks too weak to be felt.
The recordings had therefore been processed and accelerated to become audible thanks to a technique known as “sonification”.
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