NASA has revealed a video of the Perseverance Spacecraft’s daring landing on Mars, with the movie “How to Land on Mars” including unprecedented footage of the dramatic landing late last week. It was the culmination of many years of planning and seven months of travel from Earth to the Red Planet, and many could have gone wrong.
Landing was never just a matter of turning the spacecraft over and depositing tenacity on Mars’ soil. Initially came extreme slowdown, as the spacecraft used the Martian atmosphere to throw massive amounts of speed. The wide canopy slowed tenacity even further, so much so that the casing could be released.
Then a total of sixteen missiles landed a so-called jetpack just above the surface, before the rover was lowered onto four cables beneath – using a system NASA calls Sky Crane – another 70 feet or so. In this way, it can accommodate any uncontrolled terrain where its six articulated and single-powered wheels have contacted.
The fact that NASA could not fly remotely in the landing added to the pressure. In fact, it’s set pretty much from the start, because the time delay for sending a signal from Earth to Mars is actually longer than it took for the landing process itself. At about 22 minutes of message back and forth, this was just a very long response time to deal with any unexpected issues.
As a result, perseverance was its own pilot. This included a last-minute scan of the ground under the jetpack to make sure the terrain was adequate, and any final adjustments. By the time NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory – which manages the rover project – received the news of a successful landing, perseverance was actually relaxing on the surface of Mars for several minutes.
The footage was captured by the Entry Descent and Landing System, which was added to the flying craft only to give a glimpse of the Mars landing experience. According to Dave Gruel, leader of the Perseverance Entry, Descent and Landing Camera Group, the system could not interfere in any way with the spacecraft and rover. “Ultimately, we learned … the mission could still be 100 percent successful even if our camera system did not work.”
Just over 30 GB of information – including more than 23,000 images – was gathered during the landing. There were several cameras, some looking at the parachute and mounted to the back cover, a low profile camera, a camera at the top of the rover to look up at the landing stage, then finally a facing down camera underneath the Rover. A microphone was installed there as well, but according to Gruel it didn’t capture any sound.
Perseverance, of course, won’t spend much time idle from now on. In addition to bringing the various systems – including seven different tools, and nearly 20 cameras – online, running them through diagnostics, and generally giving them the green light for geological and other surveys that JPL and its partners consider, you also need perseverance to get them published. stealthily. This is a Mars helicopter, creativity.
The role of creativity will be to demonstrate that flying with energy is possible on another planet. More than anything else, it’s a proof of concept, as the helicopter is expected to charge and then set off into the Martian sky for photos and video. However, future missions will use the Ingenuity results for further scientific endeavors, as well as potentially supporting manned flights to Mars with a dedicated communications network.
It won’t be for some time yet, though NASA is planning a trip to visit the perseverance before then. One of the goals of the probe on Mars is to collect samples and package them in specially designed tubes, built to last several years on the planet’s surface. A future mission, in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA), will collect those cached samples and bring them into orbit around the planet, with a later mission after that to recover them and bring them back to Earth for deeper analysis.