NASA will share first video, new images from Perseverance rover on Mars today
Get ready to see the first video from Mars, courtesy of NASA’s Perseverance rover — and possibly the first sound.
The agency will share the video captured by cameras on the rover, which will show the perspective of a spacecraft landing on Mars for the first time.
The press conference will air live on NASA’s website at 2 p.m. ET.
While previous spacecraft have sent back “movies,” which are really just images stitched together in GIF-form, Perseverance has cameras with video capability. Altogether, the rover has 23 cameras, which include zooming and color capabilities as well.
It’s possible that the video could include audio captured by one of the rover’s two microphones, which was switched on to hear the sounds of entry, descent and landing.
The rover and its attached helicopter, called Ingenuity, landed on Mars Thursday, February 18.
After landing, the rover relayed back data and images using NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling the planet since 2006.
The first black and white images of the rover’s landing site were available almost immediately. Last Friday, the first color images were shared.
The rover sent back a never-before-seen view: what it looks like to land on Mars. This image is one still from the video that will be shared Monday.
The first image shared during a NASA press conference Friday was “exhilarating” for the team when they received it, said Pauline Hwang, strategic mission manager for the rover.
It shows the rover nearing the Martian surface during entry, descent and landing. A camera on the descent stage of the spacecraft captured the perspective, something that wasn’t possible on previous missions.
“This shot from a camera on my ‘jetpack’ captures me in midair, just before my wheels touched down,” according to a tweet from the Perseverance Twitter account. “The moment that my team dreamed of for years, now a reality. Dare mighty things.”
Little dust plumes can be seen kicking up from the Martian surface, stirred by the engines landing the rover when it was just 6.5 feet from touching down.
“The team is overwhelmed with excitement and joy to have successfully landed another rover on the surface of Mars,” said Adam Steltzner, the rover’s chief engineer. “When we do such investments, we do them for humanity, and we do them as a gesture of our humanity.”
Color images made available Friday show the characteristic red color of the Martian surface.
“An open horizon, with so much to explore. Can’t wait to get going,” the Perseverance account tweeted.
Rocks are also seen scattered across the flat surface of the landing site in Jezero Crater, but they’re small when compared to the large rover wheels.
Another tweet with the image read, “I love rocks. Look at these right next to my wheel. Are they volcanic or sedimentary? What story do they tell? Can’t wait to find out.”
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera, which flew over the landing site as Perseverance was coming in for a landing, captured an incredible view as the spacecraft’s parachutes opened.
“The Beauty of Flight! HiRISE captured this image of @NASAPersevere on its way to the landing site from over 700 km (435 mi) away!” the HiRISE account tweeted.
“If you look below to the little circle, this was our eventual touchdown point,” said Aaron Stehura, deputy phase lead for entry, descent and landing. “You can see it’s near the river delta that we’ve talked about.”
Stehura also reflected on the moment the team saw the image of the rover from the perspective of the descent stage.
“This is something that we’ve never seen before. It was stunning and the team was awestruck. And, you know, there’s just a feeling of victory that we’re able to capture these and share them with the world.”
Over the weekend, 145 new raw black and white images were sent back from the rover to show more detail of its landing site.
The Ingenuity helicopter, sidekick and traveling companion of NASA’s Perseverance rover, has also checked in with a good report and is “operating as expected,” according to the agency on Friday.
If successful, Ingenuity will be the first helicopter to fly on another planet, leading to an “extraterrestrial Wright Brothers moment,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
Ingenuity is currently tucked up beneath the rover and attached to Perseverance’s belly.
“Ingenuity, the Mars Helicopter I carry, is working as expected. I’m currently charging it, but once I set it down, it’ll rely solely on its solar panels. If it survives the brutally cold Martian nights, the team will attempt flight,” read a tweet from the Perseverance Twitter account.
Before the rover begins exploring the Martian surface and Ingenuity can try out a test flight, both will go through a check-out phase over the next couple of months to make sure both are ready for their respective journeys.