NASA published this Monday the first video of the arrival of the Perseverance rover to Mars. In addition, it also released the first audio on the red planet, a faint wind sound captured by the robot.
“A front row seat for my Mars landing is here. Look how we did it, ”the special agency posted on Twitter.
The video, which is three minutes and 25 seconds long, shows the deployment of the parachute and the contact of the vehicle with the surface. “They are really amazing videos,” he said. Michael Watkins, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Director.
“It is the first time that we have been able to capture an event such as the arrival on Mars,” he said.
For its part, the microphone did not work during the descent, but the rover was able to capture the audio once it landed on Mars. NASA engineers played a short audio clip of what they claimed it was a gust of wind on the surface.
Jessica Samuels, director of the Perseverance surface mission, said the rover is operating as expected so far. “I am pleased to report that Perseverance is in good health,” he said.
The Perserverance rover landed on Mars last Thursday, February 18, after nearly 470 million kilometers traveled through space since its liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in late July 2020.
The long and lonely move that Perseverance began seven months ago culminated this Thursday when it made landfall in Jezero crater and sent its first image of the Martian surface.
The probe made the landing in a “dangerous” area: the Jezero crater is believed to have been the bed of a lake and therefore would be rich in fossil microorganisms.
Perseverance thus became the fifth exploration vehicle that the US space agency placed on the surface of the red planet.
Specifically, the six-wheeled rover, about three meters long and 1,025 kilograms, It will track down signs of ancient microbial life on Mars, collecting and storing rocks and Martian regoliths (rock and dust) for future missions to bring them to Earth.
Load two microphones, which for the first time will pick up the sound of Mars, and a skeletal, four-legged, less than 2-kilogram helicopter known as the Ingenuity Mars, which will attempt the first powered, controlled flight on another planet.
A key goal of Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including searching for signs of ancient microbial life. Perseverance will characterize the geology and climate of Mars, and for this it carries drills that will pierce the stones to extract about thirty samples in tubes the size of cigars, of which it hopes to be able to take several back to Earth.
NASA is still many years away from creating and launching the vehicles necessary to bring those samples back to our planet. But at least the Perseverance rover will have unearthed dust and rocks so that the future spacecraft can retrieve them only in 2031.
Likewise, it will pave the way for future human exploration beyond the Moon.