NASA published this Monday, February 22, a spectacular video of the landing on Mars of its rover Perseverance, the first of its kind, after the mission’s arrival on the red planet on Thursday, in search of ancient life. It also released sound recorded for the first time on the surface of the planet, a
Just over three minutes long, the published video reveals the images of several cameras located in different places on the module, after its entry into the Martian atmosphere: one shows the deployment of the supersonic parachute, another, located under the rover, the Martian soil approaching, and two other views show the rover gradually deposited on the ground, suspended by three cables.
However, no sound could be recorded during the vertiginous descent. “This is the first time that we have been able to capture an event such as a landing on Mars”said Michael Watkins, director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where the rover was built.
20,000 km / h
“These images and videos are what we have dreamed of for years”, added Allen Chen, who was in charge of the landing for NASA. They will be used by NASA teams to better understand what happens during such a landing.
The rover was protected by a heat shield at its entrance, at a speed of 20,000 km / h, in the atmosphere. We can also see this shield dropped on the surface of Mars on the video.
Eight retro-rockets then finished slowing the vehicle, and Martian dust can be seen propelled under their effect.
NASA also released on Monday a sound recorded by a microphone on Mars, a first achieved thanks to the American rover Perseverance.
“A gust of wind”
In the clip, we can hear a shrill sound produced by the rover, but also clearly the Martian wind. “Yes, you have just heard a gust of wind on the surface of Mars, captured by the microphone and sent back to Earth”, said Dave Gruel, in charge of this equipment for NASA. It’s about “The first sounds recorded on the surface of Mars”, he added.
Perseverance took home two microphones, one of which is located on the SuperCam science instrument, an ultra-sophisticated shoebox-sized camera.
“We are hopeful that we can continue to use these microphones to capture sounds”, said Dave Gruel. One of them can be used in particular to analyze the noise produced when the SuperCam, designed by the French, uses its laser to strike the rock.
The other microphone, which NASA hoped could record the sound during the landing phase, however, did not work at that time, she announced.