NASA’s car-sized rover, the Perseverance, relayed its first images back to earth. The video captured by four on-board cameras is clear and colorful. It shows the Perseverance descend to the dusty dune-covered surface under a red-and-white parachute.
The new images have sound, as well. The audio was recorded by an on-board microphone which captures the landing noises, along with the echoing Martian windstorm.
Mars Perseverance Lands
The mission’s lead engineer, Dave Gruel claims that being able to hear the audio was “overwhelming. Unfortunately, the rover’s microphone malfunctioned on landing and was offline for a while. Gruel says that the team is staying calm by keeping it all in perspective. “We get what we get, and we don’t get upset”
Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Michael Watkins claims that “These are really amazing videos. We all binge-watched them over the weekend if you can call a 1-minute video binge-watching. But we watched it many, many times, and it’s just fantastic.”
So far the mission is on schedule. And thousands of images and videos were downloaded at NASA’s JPL facility as proof. The images reveal minimal damage to the antenna and parachute cover.
JPL surface mission manager, Jessica Samuels explains that all instruments are functioning well and the next step is to upload new software so the team can proceed with an in-depth examination of the rover’s instruments. And they will deploy the robotic arm when the Perseverance heads out for the first Mars test drive.