Onboard Video of the Perseverance Rover Landing is the Most Incredible Thing I've Ever Seen

The Mars rover sends back real-time video of its entire descent and landing on Mars

1 min read
This high-resolution still image is part of a video taken by several cameras as NASA’s Perseverance rover touched down on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. A camera aboard the descent stage captured this shot.
This high-resolution still image is part of a video taken by several cameras as NASA’s Perseverance rover touched down on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. A camera aboard the descent stage captured this shot.
Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

At a press conference this afternoon, NASA released a new video showing, in real-time and full color, the entire descent and landing of the Perseverance Mars rover. The video begins with the deployment of the parachute, and ends with the Skycrane cutting the rover free and flying away. It’s the most mind-blowing three minutes of video I have ever seen. 

Descent video cameras active on the Mars 2020 rover.The cameras that recorded video during the Mars 2020 rover’s landing on Mars.Image: NASA/JPL

Some very quick context: during landing, multiple cameras were recording the event, and this video is a combination of these. No audio was recorded, so you’re hearing a feed from JPL mission control.

Here’s the video:

We’ll have a lot more on the Perseverance rover, but for now, we’re just going to let this video sink in.

[ Mars 2020 ]

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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
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In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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