NASA releases video of willpower landing on Mars


Tencent technology news on February 23, local time on Monday, NASA released a video shot by the willpower lander and the Mars rover, showing the famous “terrifying seven minutes” landing process from the first perspective, which is also the first Mars landing video ever captured.
In a nutshell, perseverance’s landing process is like this: after slowing down and entering the Martian atmosphere, the heat shield is discarded and the parachute is deployed. There are many cameras and other instruments under the heat shield, which scan the ground to find a suitable landing site. At a certain altitude and speed, the parachute will be detached, and the “jet pack” will take over control and use the rocket to move towards the landing area. About 70 feet (21 meters) above the ground, the skycrane lifted the rover out of the lander, then gently landed it on the ground, then the jetpack broke away and crashed at a safe distance.
This chart shows the various parts of willpower’s landing on Mars
The whole landing process takes about seven minutes, and the last few seconds is a very dangerous journey. Although the previous Mars Lander sent back a lot of telemetry data and images, it is the first time to send back video files of this level. Even insight, launched in 2018, can’t send back this kind of video.
“For those who want to know how to land on Mars, or why it’s so difficult to land on Mars, or how cool it is to do it,” NASA acting director Steve jurczyk said in a statement. Willpower represents the beginning and has provided many of the most iconic visual effects in the history of space exploration. At the same time, it enhances the engineering excellence and precision required to build and fly to the red planet. ”
Willpower abandoned the heat shield when it landed on Mars
Mike Watkins, head of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said: “this is the first time we’ve actually captured a spacecraft landing on Mars. These are great videos, and we’ll learn more by watching the performance of the rover in these videos. ”
Martian landscape
The mission team also discussed the camera system (EDL) for entering the Martian atmosphere, descent and landing, which can monitor the progress of the whole landing process. Among them, the landing module, jet backpack and Mars Rover are equipped with upward cameras, and the latter two parts also have downward cameras to record the whole landing process from two directions.
Mars landscape and panoramic images of the willpower Mars rover after landing
Although one of willpower’s cameras failed when the parachute opened, it still captured more than 30GB of data. In fact, every frame in the video provides new information about the process of landing on Mars. For example, the spring used to eject the heat shield could be seen to break, but this did not affect the landing process. There is no doubt that all videos and images will continue to be scrutinized for more insight.
In addition to these landing videos, willpower also sent back many full-color images taken by navigation cameras, although not all of the systems were up and running. The mission team stitched together the first images of willpower observing itself and its surrounding environment to form a panorama.
The cameras on NASA’s willpower Rover and overhead crane captured the historic moment of its landing on Mars
In addition, the mission team provided the first compelling sound recording from the surface of Mars. They hope that this will not only provide a new perspective, but also enable those who can’t see the photos to experience the landing process in a different way.
This is a view from the camera on the willpower parachute, the largest parachute ever built for another world
Perseverance is not the first spacecraft to record its arrival on Mars. The six wheeled robot, formerly NASA’s curiosity rover, captured its own “terrifying seven minute” landing image in August 2012.
Curiosity adopted the same landing strategy as willpower, that is, to land safely by supersonic parachute and rocket powered aerial crane. But the EDL camera on the rover was not as clear or complete as NASA announced today.
For example, we saw curiosity’s heat shield falling off, but the image stopped long before the rover landed on the ground. The new mission installed multiple EDL cameras on the protective hull of the rover to record the complete landing process.
A view of the surface of Mars from above was taken by the willpower Rover during its landing
Team members said the cameras captured more than 23000 images during the landing of the willpower. Researchers put together many photos to make this video, which began about 230 seconds before the rover experienced “seven minutes of terror.”.
“These videos and images are something we dream of, and we will study them carefully in the next few years to gather knowledge that will contribute to future Mars landing efforts,” said Al Chen, head of the EDL program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
“What we see here today is really amazing,” Thomas Zurbuchen, deputy director of NASA’s Science Mission Council, said at today’s news conference. I think this video should be a must see for young people who not only want to explore other worlds and build spacecraft to take them there, but also want to be part of different teams to achieve all our bold goals in the future. ”
More EDL images will also help scientists quickly determine where the willpower component landed. On Friday, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter photographed the mission’s parachutes, overhead cranes, thermal shields, and the rover itself at different locations in Jezero crater.
The heat shield of the Willy Mars rover fell off during landing

Willpower is at the heart of NASA’s $2.7 billion Mars 2020 mission, which is promoting exploration of the “last frontier” in a variety of ways. The six wheeled rover will look for signs of ancient life in the yezero crater, a huge lake and River Delta billions of years ago. Since NASA’s Viking lander ceased operation in the early 1980s, no probe has been searching for life on the surface of Mars.
The Mars 2020 mission also launched the first-ever Mars sample recovery. Willpower will collect and store dozens of samples with particularly high astrobiological potential, which will be returned to earth as early as 2031 by a joint mission of NASA and the European Space Agency.
The farewell scene of the aerial crane flying away after the successful landing of willpower
Willpower’s mission also included several groundbreaking technical demonstrations. For example, a small helicopter called “originality” flew to Mars in the belly of a Mars rover. In the next few weeks, the 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) aircraft will launch and take off in an attempt to become the first ever rotorcraft to fly outside the earth.
Another technology demonstration, called moxie, aims to extract oxygen from Mars’ thin atmosphere. By volume, the Martian atmosphere contains 95% carbon dioxide. NASA officials say that if moxie works as planned, its follow-up plan can help astronauts gain a foothold on the red planet.
The EDL system includes a microphone to capture landing sounds, but unfortunately it didn’t work during the descent. However, it works well on the surface of Mars and has now captured the environment of the red planet, including the soft wind.
Bringing a microphone to Mars is nothing new: NASA’s Mars Polar Lander used to carry a microphone, and the agency’s Phoenix lander also had a microphone built into its descent camera. But neither instrument returned any Martian sound. The Mars Polar Lander crashed in a landing attempt in December 1999, and Phoenix’s microphone never turned on because of concerns that its use might interfere with the spacecraft’s landing.
But now we have the first real Mars audio ever, thanks to Willpower’s EDL microphone. NASA officials said the microphone recorded about 60 seconds of sound on February 20.
At a news conference, Dave gruel, head of JPL’s willpower EDL camera, said the team was still trying to determine why the microphone didn’t work as planned during the landing. But preliminary analysis shows that there may be some communication problems with the microphone’s “digital ice hockey”, which could have connected the instrument to the willpower’s onboard computer.
But the microphone is now working, and gruel and his colleagues plan to continue collecting audio. Mission team members said that willpower could even collect stereo sound at some point and operate EDL and supercam microphones at the same time.
Perseverance is not ready to start its scientific work, and the Mars 2020 team is still examining the rover’s instruments and subsystems. So far, everything has gone well. “I’m happy to report that perseverance is very healthy,” said Jessica Samuels, ground mission manager of JPL He added that the team had executed 5000 Rover orders on the ground and everything was in line with expectations.
Nuclear power’s willpower has deployed its head mast and captured the first image with its high-power mastcam-z imaging system. The rover also captured images of many other environments with its escape and navigation cameras, mission team members said.
Over the next few days, the willpower will straighten its wheels, unfold its robotic arms and make its first drive, Samuel said. The team will continue to prepare for the first major mission milestone on the ground, the launch of the original helicopter into the sky. Mission team members said that these demonstration flights may be carried out in the spring of this year, and let perseverance seriously start scientific and sampling work this summer. (Tencent technology reviser / Jinlu)