Today, NASA released the spectacular video of Perseverance landing on Mars. It is the first time a landing on Mars has been videoed. You should see this.
The video shows the final three minutes of flight before touchdown. The landing began about 17 minutes before the video with Cruise Stage Separation. That is when Perseverance separated from the part of the spacecraft that had been carrying it through space for the last six-and-one-half months. Three minutes after Cruise Stage Separation, the spacecraft hit the top of the Martian atmosphere at about 12,100 mph (19,500 kph). One minute later, the heat shield on the bottom of the craft reached a maximum temperature of 1,300° Celsius. The atmosphere continued slowing the spacecraft for the next three minutes.
That video starts when the parachute deploys at supersonic speed about 12 km above the surface. It shows parachute deployment, heat shield separation, and back shell separation where the back half of the entry capsule that is fastened to the parachute separated from Perseverance and Ingenuity the jetpack. The jetpack retrorockets continue to slow down the craft and fly to the landing site. Finally, in what’s known as “the sky crane maneuver,” the rover is gently lowered to the surface on nylon tethers.
It is remarkable to see this landing. I was surprised by the bluish color of the Martian Sky. That could have been a good response to the Weekly Photo Challenge yesterday.
What do you think of the video and project so far?