After 3 days of downloading data from the rover via JPL’s Deep Space Network NASA finally shared with us the videos that documented the entry descent and landing process that took place on Mars last Thursday.
The idea of placing a camera system like this onto the rover came from Matt Wallace, Deputy Project Manager for Perseverance, after buying an action camera for his daughter who did a backflip wearing it. Wallace seeing what doing a backflip might look like gave him the idea to capture what it might look like to pilot a spacecraft onto the Martian surface
The EDL camera system has a total of 6 cameras that point in many different directions to capture the full process that started with deploying the parachute on the back shell that covered and protected the rover during entry and descent. These faced upward right next to the mortar that fired the parachute, three cameras were planned to capture this event but one stopped working shortly after the mortar was fired.
The breathtaking view of the landing, which we got a sneak peek of last Friday, was captured using off-the-shelf cameras on the bottom of the Skycrane, one on the top, and one on the bottom of the rover. These views gave a complete view of what was happening during the landing.
These cameras were bought from FLIR Systems and were commercial off-the-shelf cameras that JPL made only minor modifications to them. Alongside these cameras flew two microphones, the first microphones to ever be sent to Mars. The hope was to record the sound of descent and landing but the microphone failed to record but is now working on the surface of Mars.
The teams have stated that the microphone could be used for diagnostic purposes as experiments operate to make sure things are operating properly.
Rover’s mast released and has taken its first images
NASA also released several images taken from the rover’s NavCams and the Mastercam-Z which are both on top of the mast that was released Friday afternoon.
One of the famous photos taken by previous rovers were panorama photos of the scene around the rover. Teams at JPL were also able to instruct Perseverance to take its first panoramic photo in Jezero Crater.
Controllers on the ground have received thousands of images from the rover and they will release all of them over the next couple of days for everyone to download and edit for themselves.