It's not the first time NASA has sent a rover to Mars. But it is the first time that they've equipped it with high-definition video cameras and audio recorders. On Thursday, February 18, the Perseverance rover landing was captured from multiple angles, and NASA has now released the footage for everyone to watch.
The four-minute long compilation features shots of the rover looking down at the surface, the parachute looking down on the rover, and even the rover looking up at the parachute.
“This video of Perseverance’s descent is the closest you can get to landing on Mars without putting on a pressure suit,” says Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science.
The rover has also relayed back the first ever audio recording taken on Mars. Allegedly. There's still a chance we find a millennium-old alien jazz cassette lying somewhere in the dirt. Until then though, revel in this eighteen-second long snippet of wind. Martian wind.
I give it about a week until someone remixes it into a drum and bass anthem.
Why did NASA send another rover to Mars?
They're starting an AI colony. In 2018, NASA's Curiosity rover discovered organic molecules in Martian rocks, dating back to billions of years ago. This suggested that the red planet might have once supported ancient life. Perseverance was deployed in 2020 to further substantiate these findings. One of it's key missions includes searching for signs of ancient microbial life on Mars.
It was deployed in 2020?! How long does it take to get to Mars?
A trip to Mars generally takes around 180 to 240 days. Curiosity took its sweet time of 253. On the other hand, Perseverance, launched on July 30, 2020, reached Mars in 204 days.
Will Curiosity and Perseverance meet?
Perseverance landed in the Jezero crater, which is about 3700 kilometres away from Curiosity's present location in the Gale Crater. Considering that, in the last ten years, Curiosity has covered a grand total of 24 kilometres, it's likely we'll have colonized the red planet long before the two rovers meet.
But say they did meet, who'd win in a fight?
Perseverance vs. Curiosity.
Oh boy. Well, Perseverance is certainly quicker in the air, as we've established. On the ground, it's built to be more enduring, with robust aluminium wheels thicker than Curiosity's. It packs on more muscle too, with a unit of an arm (or turret, as they call it) weighing in at fifty kilograms. Although, the turret's primary purpose involves collecting rock samples, I reckon it could hold its own in a fist fight too.
What else? Perseverance has better vision with twenty three mounted cameras, most in colour. It can also map its way across the Martian terrain five times faster than Curiosity i.e it's a lot smarter.
Well, the Hulk could've won if —
Okay no, this is childish. Here, look at some pretty pictures Perseverance took.