L’incroyable atterrissage du rover Perseverance sur Mars en vidéo — NASA

26 Février, 2021, 14:28 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • La Nasa publie la première vidéo de l'atterrissage de Perseverance sur Mars (vidéos)

À l'issue d'une descente spectaculaire de sept minutes, le rover de la NASA a atterri sans encombre dans le cratère martien de Jezero, large de 45 kilomètres, et a envoyé ses premières images quelques minutes plus tard.

La persévérance, également surnommée " Percy", avait touché avec succès la planète rouge jeudi après-midi, attirant l'attention du monde entier.

Il s'agit de la première image couleur haute résolution renvoyée par les Cameras Hazard (Hazcams) du rover Perseverance.

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L'instant était pourtant périlleux et rien ne garantissait que cette vidéo historique puisse être exploitable mais au final, tout a fonctionné à merveille, à l'exception d'un des deux micros. Deux caméras situées sur la coque arrière du vaisseau - qui encapsulait le rover pendant son voyage - ont permis de prendre des images du déploiement du parachute supersonique dans le ciel martien.

Chef de projet de la partie française de SuperCam, l'œil du rover martien Perseverance, le Bordelais Philippe Caïs se réjouit de la mise en route du robot. On peut ainsi découvrir dans une vidéo à 360°, la joie et le soulagement des chercheurs présents sur place au moment de l'atterrissage. Huit rétrofusées ont ensuite fini de ralentir le véhicule, et l'on peut voir de la poussière martienne propulsée sous leur effet. Une fois le rover immobile, on peut également voir l'étage de descente effectuer une dernière poussée afin d'aller s'écraser 700 mètres plus loin. Elles serviront aux équipes de la Nasa à mieux comprendre ce qu'il se passe durant un tel atterrissage.

Aucun son n'a en revanche pu être enregistré durant la vertigineuse descente. La Nasa avait pensé à tout avant d'envoyer le rover Perserverance sur la planète rouge, jusqu'aux messages cachés sur le parachute du robot, déployé lors de son arrivée sur Mars jeudi 18 février. Il s'agit " des premiers sons enregistrés à la surface de Mars ", a-t-il ajouté. L'agence spatiale a aussi fait entendre le même son mais avec le bruit du rover atténué. "Cela a été réalisé avec l'instrument (caméra) Mastcam", souligne à l'AFP Sylvestre Maurice, astrophysicien de l'IRAP (Toulouse), responsable de la caméra laser SuperCam embarquée sur Perseverance, et de la ChemCam de Curiosity. Ces opérations devraient prendre entre trois et quatre jours supplémentaires avant de pouvoir commencer à se déplacer à la surface. La fréquence des vibrations était trop basse pour l'oreille humaine; les enregistrements avaient donc été traités et accélérés pour devenir audibles grâce à une technique dite de " sonification ".

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