Just four martian days after crashing down on the Red Planet, NASA’s Perseverance rover has restored the first video of his new home: a 1-minute arabesque of color and motion captured from four onboard cameras, as the car-sized rover hangs from its rocket-propelled vehicle, a red-and-white parachute carves in, and the steep surface of Mars enters the scene, canyons dark subject to dusty cracks that resemble large, rust-colored dunes (see video, above).
But perhaps even more interestingly, an unexpected gift arrived along with the video and thousands of new photos downloaded over the weekend: the first sound recording taken from the surface of Mars. The recording, captured 1 day after landing with an on-board microphone, reveals the rover’s bucket, and then with a martian wind drumming gently drumming against the microphone. Hearing that sound was “awful,” said Dave Gruel, chief engineer for entry, rescue and arrival cameras on the mission, at a NASA event announcing the new video and images. “We are just beginning to do amazing things on the surface of Mars. ”
That feeling lasted all weekend when the images and video went in, said Michael Watkins, director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). “These are amazing videos. We all watch over them over the weekend, if you can call a 1-minute video watch. But we watched it many times, and it’s just brilliant. ”
The videos and images also suggest that the mission is going according to plan: So far, only a few pieces appear to be missing or out of place (antenna cover, the parachute cover, and track fountain), and all instruments are working as expected, says Jessica Samuels, surface mission manager at JPL. Next, after completing new software, the science team plans to conduct an in-depth study of the rover’s instruments, use its robotic arm, and take Sustainability for the first test run on the Planet Red.
The only sad note, Gruel says, is that the rover’s microphones were working at the time of entry, meaning the mission has no sound to go with his new video. But the microphone is back online, and he said his team got their first shot at their favorite mantra: “We’ll get what we get, and we won’t be upset.”