In advance of NASA’s Perseverance Rover that is set to land on Mars on February 18, take a high-resolution journey across the surface of Mars, narrated and put together by ElderFox Documentaries.
The images seen in the video above and in Part Two below were mainly captured by the three most successful rovers in NASA’s Mars endeavors: Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity. All the images were from NASA, JPL-Caltech, MSSS, Cornell University, and ASU. Like other projects involving photos from space, most are available to the public which allows them to be turned into fantastic videos like these.
When these videos were released in the summer of 2020, they were the first high-resolution videos featuring images from Mars ever produced. As explained by ElderFox, although the cameras on these rovers were very high quality, the rate at which they were capable of sending data back to Earth was the biggest challenge.
Curiosity, for example, was only able to send data back to earth at a snail’s pace of 32 kilobits per second. When the rover can connect to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, however, a much more favorable speed of 2 megabits per second can be achieved. Favorable, but still extremely slow. Additionally, the window in which the rover can connect to the Orbiter is just a scant 8 minutes per Mars day, making the transfer of files painfully slow.
“As you would expect, sending HD video at these speeds would take a long long time. As nothing really moves on Mars, it makes more sense to take and send back images,” ElderFox writes.
“The sometimes unfavourable terrain on Mars presents a real danger for the rovers. Deep sand, steep climbs and rocky terrain all provide challenges. Curiosity was built with these threats in mind,” ElderFox continues. “With six independently powered wheels, the rover is designed to withstand a tilt of up to 45 degrees. However, not wanting to take unnecessary risks, the team at NASA programmed the rover to avoid tilting more than 30 degrees, through it’s hazard avoidance software.”
More images of the surface of Mars are likely to come as the Perseverance Mars Rover is set to touch down on the Red Planet on February 18.
“The rover will seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and regolith (broken rock and soil) for possible return to Earth,” NASA writes. “Similar in size to a car, Perseverance is the heaviest rover we’ve ever sent to the surface of Mars, carrying a variety of out-of-this-world experiments that will help prepare us for future human exploration.”
(via Laughing Squid)