March 8, 2021

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This is the first image Perseverance sent from Mars

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Perseverance has just started what NASA refers to as the “seven minutes of terror.” This is when the rover essentially has to land itself on Mars with no help from NASA, due to a one-way 11 minute time-delay.

The ground teams tell the spacecraft when to begin EDL (entry, descent and landing) and the spacecraft takes over from there — and mission control begins an agonizing wait.

The spacecraft hits the top of the Martian atmosphere moving at 12,000 miles per hour and has to slow down to zero miles per hour seven minutes later when the rover softly lands on the surface.

Here’s a look at what happens during the final moments:

This illustration shows the events that occur in the final minutes of the nearly seven-month journey that NASA’s Perseverance rover takes to Mars.
This illustration shows the events that occur in the final minutes of the nearly seven-month journey that NASA’s Perseverance rover takes to Mars. NASA/JPL-Caltech

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