Martian rover sends back ‘overwhelming’ video, audio from the Red Planet
|sciencemag.org 23 Feb 2021 at 11:27|
Just four martian days after touching down on the Red Planet , NASAs Perseverance rover has sent back its first video of its new home: a 1-minute arabesque of color and motion captured from four on-board cameras, as the car-size rover dangles from its rocket-propelled descent vehicle, a red-and-white parachute snaps into place, and the pitted surface of Mars comes slowly into view, dark canyons giving way to ripples of dust that look like giant, rust-colored dunes (see video, above).
But perhaps even more thrilling, an unexpected gift arrived along with the video and the thousands of new images that were downloaded over the weekend: the first sound recording taken from the surface of Mars. The recording, captured 1 day after landing by an on-board microphone, features the whine of the rover, followed by a gust of martian wind drumming gently against the microphone. Hearing that sound was overwhelming, said DaveGruel, lead engineer for the missions entry, descent, and landing cameras, at a NASA event . Were just beginning to do amazing things on the surface of Mars.
The videos and images also suggest the mission is going according to plan: So far, only a few pieces appear to be missing or out of place (an antenna cover, the parachute cover, and a wayward spring), and all instruments are functioning as expected, says Jessica Samuels, surface mission manager at JPL. Next, after a new software upload is complete, the science team plans to do an in-depth examination of the rovers instruments, deploy its robotic arm, and take Perseverance for its first test drive on the Red Planet.
The only sad note, Gruel says, was that the rovers microphones malfunctioned during entry, meaning the mission doesnt have any sound to go with its new video. But the microphone is back online, and he said that his team got through the initial mishap with a favorite mantra: We get what we get, and we dont get upset.