essential viewing

How to watch the first video from Mars Perseverance rover

Relive the moment Perseverance rover touched down on Mars.

An overhead view of the Perseverance rover over the terrain of Mars.

Thanks to the work of Mars rovers Curiosity, Sojourner, Spirit, and Opportunity, as well as the many spacecraft observing Mars from afar, we have a wealth of images of Mars that reveal the Red Planet in incredible detail. And now we have Perseverance rover, too.

Thursday's landing made history in many respects, but one way is to do with pure viewing pleasure: NASA took a video of the landing — and soon, you will be able to see it.

Here's what you need to know about the video, including when it is set to be released, and how to watch it ASAP.

When will NASA release the Mars video?

NASA is set to release Perseverance's landing video at 2 p.m. Eastern on Monday, February 22.

The video comes a mere four days after Perseverance rover touched down on the surface of Mars at the Jezero Crater, just before 4 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, February 18.

This was Perseverance's first sneak peek of Mars after landing on Thursday, February 18.


How to watch the NASA Mars video?

NASA will livestream the first video footage of Perseverance rover's landing at a news briefing. You can watch the livestream of the video at NASA-TV, or at the video link on YouTube.

What will the Perseverance rover video show?

Perseverance rover's landing was a tense time — the mission team prepared for months for a "seven minutes of terror," during which the rover would be out of contact with ground control.

There was good reason to worry. We've grown accustomed to a steady stream of images from NASA's Curiosity and Opportunity, but getting these glimpses of Mars isn't easy. Only about 50 percent of Mars missions have been successful, with an especially glaring run of failures in the 1990s.

When Curiosity landed on Mars in 2012, several still images of its descent were stitched into a video. But with Perseverance, the descent module had a video camera aboard, meaning it could capture a top down view of the descent into the treacherous terrain of Jezero Crater.

Jezero, for those who need a recap, is a crater formed by an ancient meteorite impact, with ancient waterways eventually spilling in, depositing clays and other organic material.

This satellite view of Jezero Crater, showing where river channels fed into the crater, depositing organic materials.


Why are NASA releasing the footage now?

The Perseverance rover transmits data and observations back at 2 megabits per second. This means that something that takes up a lot of storage space — like a video — will take a long time to transmit back to Earth.

On Friday, NASA released four images, three from the rover and one from an orbiter, as a preview, including a video still.

What's next — The NASA team will update the software on the rover for the main mission, as well as calibrate the instruments and prepare the Ingenuity helicopter for first flight. Among the bevy of instruments on Mars is a microphone, which will be used to capture the first sound on Mars. So stay tuned.

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