NASA’s new footage of the Mars River shows “Seven Minutes of Terror”

US space agency NASA has released detailed video footage that chronicles the final minutes of Mars 2020 Perseverance rover’s entry, descent, and landing (EDL) on the Red Planet on February 18, 2021.

This video, being the most clear and detailed video of Mars we have viewed to date. The video footage begins about 230 seconds after the spacecraft’s entry to the upper Martian atmosphere at 12,500 mph.

The camera system aboard the spacecraft covers the entirety of the descent process, right from the supersonic deployment of the most massive parachute ever sent to another world, about 11 kilometres above the Martian surface.

The high-definition footage then displays the rover’s intense ride to Mars’ Jezero Crater, and ends with its touchdown in the crater, kicking up dust and small rocks that have likely been in place for billions of years.

“Now we finally have a front-row view to what we call ‘the seven minutes of terror’ while landing on Mars,” said Michael Watkins, director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the mission for the agency. “From the explosive opening of the parachute to the landing rockets’ plume sending dust and debris flying at touchdown, it’s absolutely awe-inspiring.”

Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science, added: “This video of Perseverance’s descent is the closest you can get to landing on Mars without putting on a pressure suit. It should become mandatory viewing for young women and men who not only want to explore other worlds and build the spacecraft that will take them there but also want to be part of the diverse teams achieving all the audacious goals in our future.”