Perseverance mission to Mars

Videographic illustrating the Perseverance mission to Mars. The US space agency NASA on Monday released the first audio from Mars, a faint crackling recording of a gust of wind captured by the Perseverance rover. VIDEOGRAPHIC

Video Transcript

- After a voyage of 480 million kilometers, lasting seven months, Perseverance landed on Mars, following an extremely perilous landing maneuver lasting several minutes. Penetrating the atmosphere of the red planet at high speed, a giant parachute slowed the craft before thrusters stabilized the platform a few meters from the surface so the Rover could be lowered using a system of bridle cords.

The main task of the NASA Rover is to search for signs of ancient life on Mars. Scientists hope to find fossilized bacteria and microbes. Perseverance, 3 meters in length and equipped with six wheels, will roam autonomously around the crater, 45 kilometers in diameter, which 3.8 billion years ago is thought to have been the site of an ancient river delta.

The Rover is equipped with seven scientific instruments including Super Cam, which will study the chemistry and mineralogy of the rock and soil on Mars, and Ingenuity, an experimental mini helicopter, weighing 1.8 kilos, that's said to attempt the first ever powered flight on another planet.

The Perseverance mission is due to last about three years, during which time around 30 rock samples will be loaded into tubes, ready for a future US European mission to collect and bring back to Earth, at the earliest in 2031.