Fortitude Mars landed the rover safely yesterday, but only after a series of complex maneuvers as it landed at high speeds through the atmosphere, known by the team as “Seven Minutes of Terror”. NASA has shared a picture of the rover’s hair embossing, as it is under threat from its jetpack above the Martian landscape, making that panic much easier to understand.
Published with others in Rover’s Twitter account (as always, in first person), the image is one of the first sent back from Rover; Black and white shots from its navigation cameras appeared shortly after landing, but this is the first time we’ve seen the Rover – or anything, really – from this point of view.
The image was taken by cameras on the descent stage or “jetpack”, a rocket-propelled descent module that slowed the craft sufficiently through atmospheric friction and its parachute. Once the heat shield was sealed, the fixture scanned the landscape for a safe landing location, and once found, the jetpack’s job was to fly it there.
When it was about 70 feet above the landing site, the jetpack would have deployed a “sky crane”, a set of cables that would drop the rover to the ground from a distance, allowing the jetpack rocket to take off for a crash landing gives. Very far.
The image at the top was taken moments before the landing – it’s a bit hard to tell if there are hundreds, dozens, or just a foot below floating in Martian soil, but the follow-up images made it clear that the rocks you can see pebbles. Are, not stones.
The images are a reminder that the processes we are seeing are only third-sighted, such as telemetry data tracking from headquarters that are sent millions of miles away from Mars, in fact very physical, fast, and sometimes brutal Things are. Seeing such an investment of time and passion swing from cords over a distant planet after a descent starting at 5 kilometers per second, and a hundred different things are needed to do the right thing or on Mars Just finishing another pit … it’s very exciting and inspiring.
That said, even a first-person perspective may not be the most influential shot of descent. Shortly after release, NASA published a stunning image from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which under its parachute managed to capture perseverance mid-fall:
Keep in mind that the MRO was 700 km away, and was traveling more than 3 km / s at the time this shot was taken. NASA wrote, “The extreme distances and high speeds of the two spacecraft were challenging conditions that required precise timing, and for the Mars reconnaissance both the pitch of the orbiter was upward and hard, so firmly at the right time Can be seen by Highrise. ” Description of photo.
Chances are we’re going to be treated to a complete picture of “Seven Minutes of Terror” soon, once NASA convincingly gathers enough imagination, but now the images above are reminiscent of the team’s talent and skills. And perhaps a sense of wonder and amazement at the abilities of science and engineering.