NASA releases ‘seven minutes of terror’ Mars landing



NASA has released video showing the moment its “most sophisticated” rover, Perseverance, touched down on the Red Planet — and the “seven minutes of terror” it endured when fighting through tumultuous conditions to enter the atmosphere. 

“Now we finally have a front-row view to what we call ‘the seven minutes of terror’ while landing on Mars,” Michael Watkins, the director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, wrote in a statement. “From the explosive opening of the parachute to the landing rockets’ plume sending dust and debris flying at touchdown, it’s absolutely awe-inspiring.”

The footage, which came from the rover’s 25 cameras, shows the “supersonic deployment” of Perseverance’s parachute, the most massive parachute ever sent to another world, and the ejection of the heat shield that protected the rover as it crashed through the planet’s fiery atmosphere. 

“If this were an old Western movie, I’d say the descent stage was our hero riding slowly into the setting Sun, but the heroes are actually back here on Earth,” Matt Wallace, the deputy project manager for Mars 2020 Perseverance at JPL, said. 

“I’ve been waiting 25 years for the opportunity to see a spacecraft land on Mars. It was worth the wait. Being able to share this with the world is a great moment for our team.”

As the rover, nicknamed Percy, entered the atmosphere, it fought through extreme conditions before the planet’s dusty, crater-filled terrain came into view. It captured the first footage ever recorded of Mars’ red surface as it floated down and prepared to land. 

“For those who wonder how you land on Mars – or why it is so difficult – or how cool it would be to do so – you need look no further,” acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk said in a statement. 

“Perseverance is just getting started, and already has provided some of the most iconic visuals in space exploration history. It reinforces the remarkable level of engineering and precision that is required to build and fly a vehicle to the Red Planet.” 

Percy landed at the Jezero Crater, a prehistoric lake that’s believed to have had water and life billions of years ago, and is preparing to collect samples that’ll be sent back to earth. 

The SUV-sized rover also managed to capture some audio of the planet. Aside from a recording of a Martian breeze that sounds like it could’ve been taken on earth, the planet was completely soundless.


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