Mars landing: endurance rover moments before touchdown between new images from Red Planet released by NASA | Science & Tech News
NASA has released new images of the Perseverance rover two meters above the Martian surface to learn more about the mission.
The US space agency’s robot successfully landed on the Red Planet shortly before 1 p.m. local time on Thursday.
Speaking at a press conference in California On Friday, NASA officials revealed that the rover landed 2 km from the old river delta it was aiming for.
The team also released the first three color images of the landing, which they hope will go down in history with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon.
One picture shows the rover in its final phase of descent to the surface, just two meters above the ground.
One second, captured by the robot’s front hazard camera, captures the probe’s shadow against the surface, while a third provides a glimpse of one of the wheels and rocks nearby.
Assistant project scientist Katie Stack Morgan said the rover has already taken more pictures “than she can count” and more will be released on Monday.
The area around the landing site was named after the Canyon de Chelly Arizona National Park, she added.
She described the moment when NASA saw the images for the first time: “The team went wild. We were in a fantastic state, we couldn’t believe what we saw.”
Her colleague, Chief Engineer Adam Steltzner, added: “It was breathtaking. The team was impressed and there was a feeling of victory that we could capture it and share it with the world.”
Persistence had traveled through space for seven months before entering the Martian atmosphere yesterday.
Touchdown took just seven minutes and moved to the surface at 12,100 miles per hour – or 16 times the speed of sound.
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But the Pasadena ground controllers had an excruciating eleven minutes to wait for confirmation of the safe landing. The radio signals ranged from 33.9 million miles Mars and earth at the speed of light.
The rover slowed as it tumbled closer and closer to the surface, releasing a 70-foot parachute and sky crane to lower the last 60 feet.
NASA decided to land Perseverance near an ancient river delta and a former lake known as the Jezero Crater.
Here it will drill deep into the sediment where the river once flowed and collect material that may contain signs of life.
Although work has only just begun, NASA executives breathed a sigh of relief yesterday that their $ 2.7 billion (£ 1.9 billion) mission didn’t crash-land.
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