Friday, February 26, 2021

Mars touchdown workforce ‘awestruck’ by photograph of descending rover

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The world bought its first close-up take a look at a Mars touchdown on Friday, as NASA launched a surprising image of its latest rover being lowered onto the dusty purple floor.

The photograph was launched lower than 24 hours after the Perseverance rover efficiently touched down close to an historic river delta, the place it would seek for indicators of historic life and put aside probably the most promising rock samples for return to Earth in a decade.

NASA outfitted the spacecraft with a file 25 cameras and two microphones, a lot of which have been turned on throughout Thursday’s descent.

The rover is proven in gorgeous element simply 6 1/2 toes (2 meters) off the bottom, being lowered by cables connected to an overhead sky crane, the purple mud kicked up by rocket engines. NASA guarantees extra images within the subsequent few days and probably additionally an audio recording of the descent.

“That is one thing that we’ve by no means seen earlier than,” flight system engineer Aaron Stehura famous at a information convention. “It was gorgeous, and the workforce was awestruck. There’s only a feeling of victory that we have been capable of seize these and share it with the world.”

Chief engineer Adam Steltzner referred to as the image “iconic,” placing it proper up there with images of Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin on the moon, Saturn as seen by Voyager 1, and the Hubble Area Telescope’s “pillars of creation” shot.

Quite a lot of thumbnail pictures have been beamed down up to now, too many to rely, mentioned Pauline Hwang, strategic mission supervisor for floor operations. “The workforce went wild” at seeing these first footage, she mentioned.

“We have been simply sort of like on cloud 9 .. this bizarre dreamlike state, we won’t really imagine that is what we’re seeing,” she mentioned.

The spacecraft is wholesome, in accordance with officers, after touchdown on a flat, protected floor in Jezero Crater with simply 1 diploma of tilt and comparatively small rocks close by. For now, the techniques nonetheless are being checked. It will likely be not less than every week earlier than the rover begins driving.


The Related Press Well being and Science Division receives help from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Division of Science Schooling. The AP is solely liable for all content material.

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