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Space & Astronomy

Mars Perseverance rover photographs its own parachute

April 13, 2022 | Comment icon 4 comments

The landing system came down a short distance from the rover. Image Credit: NASA
The rover, which landed on Mars over a year ago, has set eyes on parts of its own landing system for the first time.
Perseverance landed on Mars in February 2021 and has since spent its time trundling around on the planet's surface, recording data, taking samples and learning as much as it can.

While the mission has been a tremendous success so far, it's easy to forget the remarkable feats of physics and engineering that went into getting such a large, heavy machine onto Mars in the first place.

Like its predecessor Curiosity, its arrival on Mars neccessitated what NASA scientists refer to as the 'seven minutes of terror' - a rapid, make-or-break descent through the Martian atmosphere beginning 100km above the planet.

During its descent, the rover had less than 400 seconds to reduce its speed from 12,000mph to just 1m/s - a feat achieved by first using a supersonic parachute, then NASA's 'Skycrane' system that used 8 rockets to slow the rover down as it neared the ground.
Once this system had been deployed, it detached and moved to a safe distance before coming down somewhere nearby. NASA would have normally considered sending the rover to examine the debris, however this was deemed too risky in this case due to the nature of the terrain.

Now though, Perseverance has managed to catch sight of the parachute and backshell without having to make a special trip to go and locate them.

Photographs of the discovery have since been published online.

Source: Science Alert | Comments (4)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by and then 1 month ago
I'm STILL amazed that such a complicated landing system worked to perfection.  I was as impressed with that as I was the first rover making it to Mars.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Jon the frog 1 month ago
The drone don't have camera, or it's done for ? Would have been nice to use it to go see the landing system.
Comment icon #3 Posted by pallidin 1 month ago
Not sure, but I think the helicopters' continuing mission is highly specific to NASA objectives which may not include taking mundane aerial shots of the parachute. But I don't know.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Jon the frog 1 month ago
Would be an interesting experimental tesl but if NASA have still objectives to met with the drone, risking it to take these pictures would be a bad idea for sure.

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