Three minutes and 25 seconds of unique, spectacular images. That is what the American space agency Nasa showed to the world on Monday evening during a specially added press conference. The first Mars landing movie in human history can best be described as a kind of alien parachute jump.
First you see the unfolding of the parachute that slows the more than a thousand kilos heavy cart. The swish of the dust as the robber sinks. Then look down as the shed heat shield shoots through the image. Curling dunes and patterns in the vast Martian desert are getting closer. And then – in split screen – you look down and up at the same time. See: Perseverance hangs there, dangling from the cables of the Sky Crane, the flying tow truck that lowers the cart to the marching ground. At the same time, we see the same tow truck as it literally blows the Mars dust with its rockets, from which gases invisible to the viewer spout. And then: touchdown. Landing on another planet.
It’s Mars like you’ve never seen the planet before. Audibly excited employees say that they have already viewed the special images dozens of times and are still discovering new things in them. “It is unlikely that I will ever land a spaceship on Mars. But what you can see here will hopefully give you an idea of what that would feel like, ”said Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Lab director Micheal Watkins.
Of course we are used to some visual violence from the carts of the space agency Nasa, but what they serve to the public on Monday evening is nevertheless of the outside category. In addition to the extensive scientific objectives, the trolleys have also explicitly had a public function since the very beginning. That is why they invariably present us with spectacular panoramic photos and breathtaking views of the surface of the red planet.
For centuries humanity saw other planets at their best as small spheres through our telescopes, there the current generation is treated to unadulterated HD images that give you the feeling of walking around on another celestial body.
Those still images were also proverbially hoisted onto the stage on Monday. As support in these difficult times, they said during the press conference. To let you escape the misery of a spreading pandemic and you literally move to another planet. Or, simply, as a new background on your laptop. But, they also emphasized: not just that. Hundreds of scientists are already studying the new photos, hoping to gain more insight into the geology of our neighboring planet.
There was also disappointment. Perseverance also has a microphone on board, but it failed during landing. Yet Nasa also showed the first sounds of the planet on Monday evening. You mainly hear the soft hum of the rover, but the wind is also blowing in the background.
Never before has a person heard the wind blowing on another planet. Never before has anyone seen a ship land on Mars. In any case, most of us will not get closer to real space travel in the coming years.