The successful landing of the NASA’s Perseverance Rover on the surface of the red planet Mars is a big step towards colonizing the planet at some point and people like Elon Musk wants that to be as soon as 2050.
The robotic rover is able to give a better account of the Martian surface like never before which is super awesome to say the least.
The landing on the Jezero Crater is also important in order to look for forms of life that might have dwelled on the planet in its ancient history. Since we won’t be getting the soil samples pretty soon, we’ll at least be getting good views of the desert planet.
Thanks to the Mastercam-Z camera system on the Perseverance rover, were able to see a panoramic view of the planet which is also being tweeted by the rover’s Twitter account.
I’m taking it all in. This is the first 360º view of my home using Mastcam-Z. This dual, high-definition camera system sits atop my mast and has zoom capability. Inspect tiny details of Jezero Crater with the special interactive viewer at https://t.co/roDhWK56gj #CountdownToMars pic.twitter.com/TAy28PpG73— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) February 24, 2021
It’s a panorama two years and over 5,000 command parameters in the making, said Elsa Jensen, instrument operations manager of Malin Space Science Systems, which sends commands to Mastcam-Z.
“You know, it’s funny, because when you take a panorama like this on Mars, it’s very technical. But it’s in some ways the same as when you have your smartphone,” she said during a NASA Q&A session on Thursday.
“We’re millions of miles away, though. Our selfie stick, if you will, is 150 million miles long,” she said.
Considering the huge distance between our planet and the neighboring Red planet, sharing of information isn’t as fast which means whenever she and her teammates presses the shutter button – which is an input command to take a picture, that commands takes about a day for the signal to reach Mars before Perseverance react on the inputted command.
“And it takes another day before we get the images back. So we have that challenge of time and space,” she said.
After the touchdown on Feb. 18th, the rover had taken a number of pictures and videos along with audio sounds of the planet all which had been shared to the Twitter account of the project which has amassed some 2.3 million followers.
“Even though many of us kind of knew, intellectually, what to expect, emotionally it was like blown out of the water,” with the content, Jim Bell, professor at Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, said during the Q&A session.
“It was incredible, and a lot of us on the Mastcam-Z team are having the same experience with the pictures that were taken with these Zoom cameras,” he added.
The Perseverance Rover will spend it’s entire lifetime surveying and sending us information about the planet. Hopefully we’ll get to meet it – probably dead by the time we land on the planet if all plan works out, by 2024 or 2050 depending on how fast things go.