TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — NASA unveiled brand new images and video on Monday of the Mars Perseverance Rover touching down on the red planet last week, as well as the first sounds recorded from the planet’s surface.
The “How to Land on Mars” video released during Monday’s virtual briefing featured first-of-its-kind footage showing the rover’s entry, descent and landing (EDL) on Mars in the Jezero Crater. The video begins with the rover’s parachute inflating and ends with the rover touching down on the planet’s surface.
According to officials with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, it’s the first time we’ve ever been able to see a landing on the red planet from multiple angles.
“This is the first time we’ve actually been able to capture an event like the landing of a spacecraft on Mars,” JPL Director Michael Watkins said. “And these are pretty cool videos. And we will learn something by looking at the performance of the vehicle in these videos, but a lot of it is also to bring you along on our journey – our touchdown to Mars and, of course, our surface mission as well.”
The microphone on the Mars rover was, unfortunately, unable to capture audio of the landing itself. According to a tweet from Christine Corbett Moran with the JPL, NASA believes there was a communications error with the microphone, not a hardware issue.
“Unfortunately, I do have to say that we did not collect any audio during EDL,” JPL’s Perseverance EDL Camera Lead Dave Gruel explained.
And while the microphone did not capture the sounds of the EDL, Gruel revealed later in the news conference that Perseverance did capture the first audio from the surface of Mars.
According to Gruel, the microphone captured “an actual wind gust on the surface of Mars, picked up by the microphone and sent back to us here on Earth.”
“We’re looking forward to doing some amazing things with the microphones going forward,” he added. “We’re just beginning to do amazing things on the surface of Mars.”
The Perseverance Rover launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on July 30, 2020. It touched down on Mars on Feb. 18 with the main mission of looking for signs of ancient life on the red planet. The rover will also be collecting rock and soil samples to possibly bring back to Earth.
The rover is expected to spend at least one Mars year, equivalent to two Earth years, exploring the region where it landed.