WASHINGTON — NASA has unveiled first-of-its-kind footage of the newest rover landing on Mars and has captured sound on the red planet for the first time ever.
A record 25 cameras were placed on the Perseverance rover and the spacecraft which brought it down to the surface of the red planet last Thursday. Several of those cameras were turned on during the landing.
While the rover sent back some initial photos from the surface last week, the footage NASA shared on Monday took it to the next level.
The cameras captured shots of the rover's descent through the atmosphere, the parachute deployment and the "skycrane" maneuver that finally lowered it to the surface.
Officials said around 23,000 images captured the rover's descent and landing.
The rover was also equipped with two microphones, and while officials announced Monday they were not able to capture sound during landing, they did share audio from the surface since then.
NASA proclaimed it was the first sounds from the surface of Mars.
NASA officials previously announced the rover is healthy and landed on a flat, safe surface in Jezero Crater with just 1 degree of tilt and relatively small rocks nearby.
A fake video claiming to feature audio from the surface of Mars went viral within hours of the rover's landing late last week. On Friday, NASA confirmed that video was not from Perseverance.
A day after landing on the surface of Mars, NASA shared the first photos from the landing attempt.
The team shared additional photos on Monday, including a panorama of images stitched together.
“This is something that we’ve never seen before,” flight system engineer Aaron Stehura noted at a news conference. “It was stunning, and the team was awestruck. There’s just a feeling of victory that we were able to capture these and share it with the world.”
A number of thumbnail images have been beamed down so far, too many to count, said Pauline Hwang, strategic mission manager for surface operations. “The team went wild” at seeing these first pictures, she said.
When NASA's Curiosity rover landed on the surface in 2012, a spacecraft flying overhead sent back a stop-motion movie of its landing. NASA promises the video from Perseverance will let everyone "See Mars Like Never Before!"
NASA said Perseverance's mission is to search for signs of life. During its lifetime it will characterize the "planet’s geology and past climate and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith, paving the way for human exploration."
It's the ninth time that NASA has successfully landed on Mars -- and the fifth rover.
China will attempt to land its own much smaller rover in late spring. It’s been orbiting Mars for 1 1/2 weeks. The United Arab Emirates also put a spacecraft into Martian orbit last week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.