NASA will reveal video of the Perseverance rover’s unbelievable touchdown on Mars right this moment, a glimpse of the complicated multi-stage course of that efficiently culminated within the car-sized robotic touching down on the pink planet late final week. It proved to be a nail-biting seven minutes or so, involving not just some severe heat-shielding however a parachute, sixteen rockets, and a Sky Crane.
Getting a six-wheeled roaming science platform the scale of an SUV safely to a different planet proved to be no simple feat. For a begin, Mars is presently round 147 million miles from Earth: that meant not solely a protracted journey, with Perseverance taking off in mid-2020, however that the rover itself needed to be its personal pilot for the touchdown.
With delays of greater than 11 minutes for a sign to achieve Mars from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, the rover wanted to be programmed to land itself. That concerned first shedding pace because it entered the Martian environment, then deploying an unlimited parachute to additional scale back the tempo of its descent. The housing was launched, together with the connected parachute, after which two units of rockets – every eight-strong – had been used to information the jetpack with Perseverance connected even nearer to the floor.
From that jetpack unspooled the Sky Crane, gently reducing the rover to the bottom. NASA shared a photograph of simply how that course of unfurled, displaying Perseverance dangling beneath the jetpack proper earlier than its six wheels hit Martian filth. Now, although, we’ll get to see a video of it.
NASA plans to launch that at 2pm EST (11am PST) right this moment, Monday, February twenty second. There’ll even be new photos from Mars, because the house company continues to obtain information from Perseverance’s sensors as they progressively come on-line.
Curiosity, the Mars rover which has already spent a number of years on the planet, has been liable for a few of the most breathtaking imagery of our photo voltaic neighbor. Perseverance, nonetheless, guarantees to ship much more spectacular content material. It has increased decision cameras, together with twin microphones in order that we’ll finally have the ability to hear what it seems like on Mars too.
We’ll additionally – if all goes to plan – get a view from the skies. Perseverance carried down Ingenuity, a helicopter designed to attain the primary powered flight on one other planet. That may seize images and movies, although isn’t designed to do any particular science whereas within the air. As a substitute, NASA intends to make use of it as a proof of idea for future missions that would contain aerial surveys, act as an information relay, and extra.