For the first time on Monday, NASA shared "what it's like to land on Mars"

By Katie Campione
February 22, 2021 05:43 PM
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NASA has shared some never-before-seen footage from Mars!

For the first time on Monday, NASA shared "what it's like to land on Mars."

The Perseverance Mars Rover touched down on the red planet on Thursday, and the space agency shared images, video and audio that depict for the first time a spacecraft landing on Mars from multiple angles.

In the video, the parachute deploys as the rover enters the Martian atmosphere. As the rover descends toward the planet, the rocky surface comes into view.

"Your front-row seat to my Mars landing is here," the agency wrote on the rover's Twitter account.

The rover landed in the Jezero crater, which is a crater that is thought to have once been flooded with water, contributing to the formation of valley networks on Mars. The crater now contains rich clay soils, according to NASA.

"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, said in a statement.

"It should become mandatory viewing for young women and men who not only want to explore other worlds and build the spacecraft that will take them there, but also want to be part of the diverse teams achieving all the audacious goals in our future."

NASA Perseverance Rover
| Credit: NASA

The landing also captured the first audio from Mars, including some Martian breeze and sounds of the "robot scientist" landing.

"Now that you've seen Mars, hear it. Grab some headphones and listen to the first sounds captured by one of my microphones," the rover's Twitter account wrote.

Over its mission time of one Mars year (which translates to about 687 Earth days), the Perseverance — NASA's ninth mission to land on Mars — will collect rock and soil samples in the hopes of finding evidence of ancient life on Earth's closest neighboring planet.

The Perseverance is "the biggest, heaviest, cleanest, and most sophisticated six-wheeled robot ever launched into space" according to NASA.

On Thursday, the unmanned rover — which launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on July 30, inside the United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket — landed at 3:55 p.m. ET on the Jezero Crater, an area that NASA previously said they believe could have been a "possible oasis in [the planet's] distant past."

The landing marked an end to what NASA calls its "seven minutes of terror" — many things had to go right as the rover descended to the surface by using NASA's intricate sky crane system.

Credit: NASA

Another feat: helicopter Ingenuity, which aims to explore Mars by air autonomously, is aboard. The aircraft is the first of its kind to fly on another planet.

The goals for the Mars endeavor are also to explore and analyze the geology of the planet's environment to "assess ancient habitability." Another desired outcome is to "demonstrate technology for future robotic and human exploration" to the planet.

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"Over the past two decades, missions flown by NASA's Mars Exploration Program have shown us that Mars was once very different from the cold, dry planet it is today," according to the June press release. "Evidence discovered by landed and orbital missions point to wet conditions billions of years ago. These environments lasted long enough to potentially support the development of microbial life."