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Dramatic footage shows how NASA's Perseverance landed on Mars

By RFI
Europe - NASA/JPL-CALTECH/AFP
FEB 23, 2021 LISTEN
- NASA/JPL-CALTECH/AFP

NASA has released a new video of the landing of the Perseverance rover in the 45-km wide Jezero crater on the Martian surface

According to a NASA statement, the video taken by a high definition camera aboard the spacecraft, shows the descent and touchdown of the rover in the crater. 

NASA's latest Martian probe successfully landed on the Red Planet on February 18. The six-wheeled rover, which is equipped with seven instruments will:

  • look for signs of ancient microbial life,
  • analyse the chemical composition on the soil and rocks 
  • collect and cache Martian rock 

The Mast Unit of one of the instruments, called SuperCam, has been designed and developed by French institutes.

The dramatic video shows the deployment of the parachute “which transforms from a compressed 46 by 66 cm nylon cylinder into a 21.5-meter-wide canopy, the largest ever sent to Mars.”

It also shows the heat shield dropping away as it gets closer to the surface and the rover's wheels making contact with the surface at a gentle 2.6 kph, followed by the severing of the cables connecting it to the descent stage.

"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,” said acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk.

“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.”

“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.

NASA also released the sounds of the Jezero crater which were recorded by the microphone on the rover.

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