NASA successfully landed its Perseverance rover on Mars last week after a six-and-a-half-month journey from Earth.
The final moments before touchdown were tense, to say the least, with the team at Mission Control in California wondering if the spacecraft delivering Perseverance would survive the challenging phase before touchdown, dubbed the “seven minutes of terror.”
Fortunately, the autonomous landing went without a hitch, with Perseverance now preparing to spend the next couple of years exploring the Martian surface for signs of ancient life, among other tasks.
NASA livestreamed the jubilant scenes from Mission Control that erupted when confirmation of the successful landing came through, and now it’s released footage (top) of the same celebrations captured by a 360 camera placed among the team members.
“Take a seat inside Mission Control to see, hear, and feel what it was like for the team as they received signals that NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover had landed safely,” the space agency says in a message accompanying the video.
The footage shows the inside of the Cruise Mission Support Area in the Space Flight Operations Facility at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, the main base for the Mars 2020 mission.
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More good news came on the day after the Mars landing when NASA reported that the Ingenuity helicopter, currently attached to the underside of Perseverance, had checked in with Mission Control for the first time.
The diminutive machine is set to become the first aircraft to take flight on another planet as part of a technology demonstration that could offer a whole new way of exploring faraway planets.
Commenting on last week’s successful landing and the preparation that went into it during such a difficult 12 months, NASA’s Matt Wallace said: “It’s been a tough year. It’s been tough to do this mission in this environment. But the team, like they have with every other challenge, has stepped up to it … and I think that’s going to continue into the future.”
Going by the look on their faces when they learned that Perseverance had safely arrived, all the hard work was certainly worth it. And the most exciting stuff is surely yet to come.
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