Well, today was kind of an exciting day! Mars has been graced with it’s newest rover.
It’s actually a little bittersweet, at least to me. Since there was no visual footage possible for Perseverance’s landing because Mars is so far away, there was very little coverage of it. But I wrote it on the calendar so we could tune in via NASA TV.
What feels like forever ago now, we all went to JPL, where Perseverance was built, while it was being built. The two times that we went, it was either a holiday or a weekend, so we didn’t actually get to see anyone working on it, but it was still really neat to see. Last year, I was supposed to take both of you back to JPL for another tour. If I remember correctly, Perseverance was still there, in the final stages. But all tours were cancelled two weeks before we were supposed to go. Brother was so sad for a while, and sometimes still even talks about it and wants to go back. So I made a point of putting on the landing footage.
It really wasn’t much. Because there was so visual footage, we watched and listened to the commentary from Mission Control. It was still really interesting and they had an animation of the landing on so we could get an idea of what it might look like.
Fortunately, everything worked out very nicely. To me, it seemed to go perfectly, but I don’t know the nuances of landing a car sized machine on another planet. All I know is it worked. Perseverance landed and Mission Control was even able to get some early black and white images of Mars from it. I did read the camera arm won’t be activated until tomorrow, so the images were from a camera that’s supposed to aid with navigation. I think. Anyways, it was lots of rocks.
Perseverance landed at 12:55pm PST. Sister was ready and willing to get her nap going, but, I admit, I really wanted to witness the landing, too. And really wanted to see Brother’s reaction. For weeks now, Brother and I have been reading his space facts book over and over and I really want to encourage his interest in space. He’s even said he doesn’t want to go into space, but wants to be the one making the stuff that goes into space. Well, maybe he’ll be sitting in Mission Control one day or have a hand in building something that will go out into space. After all, JPL is less than an hour away, with no traffic.
Anyways, we’re all hoping the pandemic ends so JPL can get tours going again. Perseverance will be collecting samples that will eventually be brought back to Earth and retrieval is planned for 2031. It’s too soon for Brother to be old enough to help work on that, but maybe we’ll get to see it being built. Dream big, kids!