Thanks to a new video released by NASA, we can now experience the Perseverance rover's 'seven minutes of terror' for ourselves!
After 203 days flying through space, on the afternoon of February 18, 2021, NASA's Perseverance rover plunged into the Martian atmosphere, intent on reaching the floor of Jezero Crater. Before it could land at its destination, though, it had to perform a series of carefully-timed maneuvers designed to slow it from 20,000 km/h at the top of the atmosphere to a gentle touchdown on the ground.
Perseverance had plenty to do and a lot to keep track of during that seven-minute journey. Even so, it still managed to perform one more crucial task. It used seven of its 23 cameras to snap pictures throughout the entire experience. The parachute deployment, heat shield separation, ejection from the backshell, descent stage flight, and skycrane maneuver — each stage has been documented in incredible detail.
These three images, taken during the landing of the Perseverance rover, were snapped by the upward-looking camera on the rover (top left), the downward-looking camera on the underside of the Descent Stage 'jet pack' (bottom left), and the downward-looking camera on the bottom of the rover (right). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Not only will these images it captured be invaluable to scientists and future mission teams, but they also allowed us to see this incredible journey for ourselves.
Watch below: NASA walks us through Perseverance's landing and reveals even more.
As a special bonus, we were hoping to not only see the landing, but also hear it. A microphone installed on the rover's undercarriage was turned on during entry, descent and landing, and the hope was that it would capture the entire event. Unfortunately, the NASA team reported that they did not receive any audio files from the landing.
What we were treated to, however, was the sounds of the winds of Mars, recorded once Perseverance was on the surface.
Even more images from Perseverance will be uploaded to the rover's raw image website soon. This will include all the images from the landing, and from the rover's first navigation camera (Navcam) pan across the landscape.
Come back regularly for more updates on this amazing mission!