- NASA says it will release the first video of its Perseverance rover’s Mars touchdown on Monday.
- For the first time ever, you’ll be able to see a rover landing on Mars.
- Watch NASA’s livestream, starting at 2 p.m. ET, below.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
NASA is about to share unprecedented video footage of its new Perseverance rover landing on Mars.
The rover, which touched down in the planet’s Jezero Crater on Thursday, has spent the weekend beaming photos and video back to Earth. Now, NASA is ready to reveal the first video footage in a press conference on Monday.
The new video, titled “How to Land on Mars,” was captured as Perseverance touched down, according to a NASA statement teasing the footage release.
That means, for the first time in history, you’ll be able to watch a rover landing on Mars.
The closest NASA has ever gotten to such footage is a stop-motion movie that Curiosity captured during its descent to the red planet. The footage doesn’t show the rover, or its parachute and jetpack.
Perseverance tried to revolutionize Martian cinema with its descent and landing. It’s possible that six cameras and a microphone captured the entire process: a capsule carrying the rover plummeting to Mars at 12,000 mph, a parachute to slow it, and a jetpack flying the rover to a safe landing.
“I just want to repeat: you WANT to take time and attend this press conference! Trust me – you will not regret it!” NASA Associate Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen wrote on Twitter.
A livestream of the press conference, embedded below, begins at 2 p.m. ET.
Beyond sending Earthlings incredible video footage, Perseverance has an ambitious mission ahead of it. The rover is set to explore Jezero Crater for signs of microbial life that scientists think may have thrived there 3.5 billion years ago, when the crater was filled with water. Back then, a river flowing into Lake Jezero would have dumped mud and clay that could have trapped communities of microbial life (like algae), imprinting them as layer in the rock.
Over the next two years, Perseverance aims to gather about 40 samples of rock and soil across the lake bed and the river delta. NASA plans to send another mission in the 2030s to grab those samples and bring them back to Earth. Aside from providing unprecedented documentation of Mars geology, these samples could offer the first evidence of microbial alien life.
But first, the rover has a few weeks of hardware checkouts and software upgrades. Then it has another video-recording detour before it begins exploring.
In the spring, Perseverance is set to release a small helicopter called Ingenuity from a compartment in its belly. The rover will capture footage as the drone attempts to fly over a Martian field.