It takes a while to get data from Mars. It is, after all, a long ways away. But NASA finally got the on-board video of last week’s landing and…well, take three minutes of your day to watch this.
You’ll see several stages of the landing. First, the upward-looking camera shows the deployment of the hypersonic parachute. Then you get downward footage as the heat shield deploys and falls away to the surface (I was hoping we’d see it hit the ground but no such luck). The downward camera continues to track as the rover descends and look for a landing site. Then you see the dust kicked up by the skycrane’s thrusters. Then you get three views: one from the downward looking camera, one from the camera looking up at the skycrane and one from the skycrane looking down as the rover is deployed. And finally the skycrane flies away, leaving the rover to explore.
What you’re seeing is a stunning feat of engineering and human endeavor. Let’s hope it’s just a taste of what’s to come.