How does it feel to land on Mars?
Now you can watch, with captivating clarity, high definition as you are there.
On Monday, NASA released a video taken by the agency’s Perseverance spacecraft as it passed through the Martian atmosphere last Thursday, ending with the rover’s successful arrival on the surface of Mars. It is the first video of its kind sent back to Earth from the planet.
It took a while for the full video to get to Earth – the same frustration a lot of people have felt while waiting to download huge files. There is no high speed internet connection between Earth and Mars. Instead, the data had to be relayed by an orbiting spacecraft passing overhead. The speed at which data is transmitted would have been considered fast by Internet users on Earth a few decades ago, but today the download rate can seem freezing, especially when the file is a high resolution video.
Perseverance took hold in Jezero Crater last week and will soon begin its mission to search for chemical traces of ancient Martian microbes, if they ever existed. NASA on Friday unveiled some of the first color images the mission returned to Earth, including an image of the rover lowered to the surface by the sky crane, a piece of the spacecraft that looks like a jetpack.
None of the spacecraft previously sent to Mars had cameras capable of taking pictures at video frequencies. Instead, they took multiple photos through color filters which could then be stitched together to create a color photograph. And while black-and-white image sequences of Mars have already been pieced together into video clips, Perseverance’s films are videos in the conventional sense.
This is a developing story.