Solar eclipses fascinate lovers of astronomy not only on Earth, but also on Mars. In addition, the Perseverance robot in the front row was able to take advantage of this breathtaking Mars spectacle.
After seven long months of travel, the Perseverance rover landed on Mars in February 2021. Since then, he has been studying the Earth’s surface and collecting samples from the red planet. A year after its arrival, the little robot was able to witness a sublime solar eclipse. The scene was captured using the Mastcam-Z, a powerful camera installed on the Perseverance mast. For the engineers who designed the robot, this is one of the greatest rewards.
Watch (a video shared by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory):
In this fantastic 50 second video we discover the Phobos satellite (the larger of the two natural satellites of Mars, the other being Deimos) orbiting in front of the moon and the sun. For NASA scientists, this impressive spectacle is also an opportunity to calculate the parameters of Phobos’ orbit with great precision.
†This detailed video could help scientists in my team better understand the Martian moon’s orbit and how gravity affects Mars’ interior, including its crust and mantle.†
Twitter account of the NASA persevere
Perseverance is not the first Mars robot to photograph a solar eclipse. Spirit and Opportunity have had this opportunity before. But this time it is different, because never before has such an event been filmed with such precision with the Phobos satellite.