Tuesday, February 23, 2021

here is finally the vertiginous video of the descent of the rover on Mars


NASA has finally presented the film of the landing of its rover Perseverance on the red planet. Thanks to several cameras, the descent of the rover was able to be immortalized in images as impressive as they have never been seen before.

No one had ever seen a parachute open into the Martian atmosphere, or a rover come down to the surface of this planet from a “flying crane”, until now. On the evening of February 22, around 8 p.m., the American space agency broadcast live the spectacular images of the descent of its rover Perseverance.

The first data and images transmitted by the Perseverance rover had already confirmed it: the rover landed as planned on Mars on the evening of Thursday, February 18, 2021. To complete its interplanetary journey, the rover made a high-risk landing , the “7 minutes of terror” described by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. We already knew the maneuvers that the probe had to perform, but NASA has just offered an unprecedented glimpse of the arrival of a rover on Mars with these images.

Six cameras were assigned to film the Perseverance landing, in order to obtain this historic film. A microphone was also used. Thanks to these devices, the entry into the atmosphere of the rover and its descent could be detailed in an unprecedented way. An image taken from this video had already been presented by NASA on February 20, along with other first colorful photos of Mars taken by the rover.

The shield is dropped. // Source: YouTube / Nasa
The deployment of the Perseverance parachute. // Source: YouTube / Nasa

Where were the cameras positioned?

The following infographic shows the position of the descent cameras and the microphone on the various components of the probe: the capsule, the descent stage (the famous “Sky Crane”, or the “flying crane”) as well as the rover. -even.

Position of the six descent cameras. // Source: NASA / JPL-Caltech (cropped image)

To summarize, the cameras were arranged as follows:

  • At the back of the capsule, facing upwards to film the deployment of the parachute,
  • On the “Sky Crane”, or descent stage, directed downwards, that is to say in the direction of the rover, while the latter was lowered using cables,
  • On the rover, looking both upwards during the descent phase (towards the “Sky Crane”) and under the rover, looking towards the surface of Mars.

Scientifically valuable images

This film is not only spectacular and intended for the public: it is also a great help in helping the teams responsible for the mission to decide which will be the first journeys of the Perseverance rover. For these experts, it is also the way to observe how various components of the ship operated during the landing. In addition, the video can help answer many questions about the environment during landing: for example, how much dust and rock is then moved?

Video of the Perseverance landing. // Source: Nasa screenshot

The JPL already spoke of “7 minutes of terror” during the landing of Curiosity, the other active Mars rover from NASA, in 2012. But most of the viral videos of this event remained visualizations, and not real images. of the rover’s descent on Mars. A descent camera had been installed on board the craft, providing an overview of its arrival on Mars, certainly unprecedented, but much less complete than the images that NASA has just presented with Perseverance.

All about the planet Mars

Photo credit of the one:
Nasa screenshot

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