BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – The photographic gifts keep on coming from Perseverance, the NASA rover that landed on Mars last week.
Over the weekend, the spacecraft transmitted video footage it took of its dramatic landing onto the Martian surface. This is the first time NASA has captured video of the perilous “7 minutes of terror” documenting the spacecraft’s descent and landing on Mars.
The first-of-its-kind footage shows the massive parachute inflate, the heat shield falling away and finally the rover’s point of view as it flies over the Martian surface and settles down in a dusty crater.
“It gives me goosebumps every time I see it. It’s just amazing,” said Matt Wallace, Perseverance deputy project manager. “I’ve been waiting 25 years for the opportunity to see a spacecraft land on Mars. It was worth the wait.”
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The camera’s microphone did not capture audio during the landing but it did record a gust of wind after it touched down, the first sounds ever recorded on Mars.
Audio from the Red Planet was distributed on the rover’s Twitter account, which has quickly amassed 2.2 million followers.
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On Monday NASA also released the mission’s first panorama of the rover’s landing location as well as over 23,000 images of the vehicle descending to the surface of Mars which can be downloaded on NASA’s website.
“This video of Perseverance’s descent is the closest you can get to landing on Mars without putting on a pressure suit,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science. “It should become mandatory viewing for young women and men who not only want to explore other worlds and build the spacecraft that will take them there, but also want to be part of the diverse teams achieving all the audacious goals in our future.”
Perseverance, the most advanced rover to travel to Mars, landed safely in Jezero Crater Thursday – a key step as it searches for signs of past life on the planet.
Contributing: Jay Cannon, USA TODAY
Follow reporter Rachael Joy on Twitter @Rachael_Joy