Nasa releases video of rover’s landing on Mars and first audio from the red planet
Nasa has unveiled a first-of-its-kind video of its car-sized rover Perseverance making its sensational landing on Mars, and released the first audio recorded on the surface of the planet.
The American space agency shared the footage yesterday, days after the spacecraft made its dramatic descent to the Martian surface. The robotic vehicle sailed through space for nearly seven months, covering 293m miles (472m km) before piercing the Martian atmosphere at 12,000mph (19,000km/h) to begin its approach to touchdown on Mars, with the help of a parachute, booster rockets and a sky crane.
Perseverance – fondly known as Percy – landed with “eyes open” taking images of the surface to choose its landing spot. Weighing more than a tonne, it landed nearly in the middle of the landing zone within the 28 milewide (45km) Jezero crater north of the planet’s equator, which billions of years ago housed a Martian lake bed.
Nasa scientists also shared – for the very first time – the sounds of Mars, a feat never achieved before in another world. “The amazing panorama and the first … landscape shot of the Jezero crater seen with human eyes and the first Martian sounds are the closest you can get to landing on Mars without putting on a pressure suit,” said Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, Nasa’s associate administrator for the science mission directorate. The $2.7bn rover – whose primary aim is to search for ancient signs of life – also produced some spectacular panoramic imagery courtesy of its 20 megapixel colour cameras detailing the peaks and troughs of Mars’ dimpled surface.
“We are a long way from understanding that landscape but … the mission begins right here,” said Susanne Schwenzer, an astrobiologist at the Open University.
“I for the first time can imagine what landing on Mars is like.”