NASA’s Perseverance Rover Captures Video of a Photo voltaic Eclipse on Mars

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NASA’s Perseverance rover has captured a spectacular video of an April photo voltaic eclipse on Mars. The video clearly depicts Phobos because it eclipses the solar, as seen from the Martian floor.

“You possibly can see particulars within the form of Phobos’ shadow, like ridges and bumps on the moon’s panorama,” stated planetary astronomer Mark Lemmon in a press release. Lemmon, of the House Science Institute in Boulder, has orchestrated a lot of the Phobos observations by Mars rovers so far. “You may also see sunspots. And it’s cool which you could see this eclipse precisely because the rover noticed it from Mars.”

With out additional ado, right here’s the video:

The eclipse lasted a bit over forty seconds. (That’s a lot shorter than the length of a typical lunar eclipse on Earth. Why so quick? NASA explains, “Phobos is about 157 instances smaller than Earth’s Moon. Mars’ different moon, Deimos, is even smaller.”)

This isn’t the primary time a NASA spacecraft has managed to seize a photo voltaic eclipse on Mars. In a solar-system first, the dual NASA rovers Spirit and Alternative recorded time-lapse video of Phobos throughout a 2004 photo voltaic eclipse. Later, Curiosity took up the baton, sending residence eclipse movies from its Mastcam digital camera system. And Perseverance has been utilizing its Mastcam-Z instrument to observe the Martian skies because it landed in February 2021.

However NASA stated in a press release that Perseverance has now delivered to us “essentially the most zoomed-in video of a Phobos photo voltaic eclipse but – and on the highest-frame charge ever.”

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This most up-to-date video of Phobos runs at about 4 frames per second (“video charges of 4 frames/sec or sooner for subframes,” per official supplies). That’s low for client video, which runs at about 24-60 fps, relying on whether or not you’re gaming or watching a DVD. But it surely’s an actual milestone for a spacecraft. The video even impressed mission scientists aware of Percy’s capabilities. “I knew it was going to be good, however I didn’t anticipate it to be this wonderful,” stated Rachel Howson, a Mastcam-Z staff member who operates the digital camera.

Mastcam-Z

All this Martian eye sweet involves us by means of Perseverance’s Mastcam-Z zooming panoramic digital camera system. As its identify suggests, the instrument is predicated on Curiosity’s Mastcam. In its present, upgraded kind, Mastcam-Z returns “high-definition video, panoramic coloration and 3D photographs of the Martian floor and options within the environment.” The instrument makes use of a Truesense CCD, developed by Kodak.

NASA's Perseverance rover watched a solar eclipse on Mars from near this location in the Jezero Crater.

Perseverance took this image of its fallen parachute shortly after the photo voltaic eclipse of sol 397. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS.

The rover telephones residence with about 18.5 MB of information per sol, on common, and the variety of photographs varies with compression. But it surely’s not only a wildly costly machine for producing space-themed 1600×1200 desktop wallpapers. Mastcam-Z’s bandpass filter, mixed with its stereo imaginative and prescient, permits Perseverance to inform what sort of rocks it’s taking a look at and even how outdated they’re.

Earlier than sending bulk information, Perseverance sends lower-resolution thumbnails that give a transparent preview of photographs to return. Even so, Howson says, she was surprised by the full-resolution variations as soon as they lastly received to Earth. “It appears like a birthday or vacation once they arrive. You understand what’s coming, however there may be nonetheless a component of shock whenever you get to see the ultimate product.”

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For extra on Perseverance and its mission, go to https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/.

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