Perseverance’s Landing Seen in Full Color, Thanks to Citizen Science

A month on, we’re all still buzzing about the Perseverance rover’s perfect landing in Jezero Crater on Mars, back on February 18, 2021. Over the past few weeks, NASA has released more stunning imagery and footage of the landing, and since then the world-wide cadre of citizen scientists and image editing enthusiasts have been springing into action to enhance and augment all the incredible scenes captured by Perseverance’s collection of high-resolution cameras.

One of our favorite’s is this artificially colorized view of Jezero Crater, showing the bird’s eye view of Perseverance screaming towards Mars’s surface. The above image was enhanced by Kevin Gill into full color, taking images captured by Perseverance’s Lander Vision System Camera just after the heat shield was released. You can see the heat shield plummeting towards the surface in the lower left of the image.

“This incorporates about ten images taken by LCAM to bring in a wider field of view than my previous attempt,” Kevin said on Twitter. You can see the full image on Kevin’s Flickr page.

Kevin’s aforementioned “previous attempt” is a stunner, too:

On the video side, one of the best visualizations we’ve seen of Perseverance’s descent comes from Mathew Earl, who re-projected the incredible descent video onto the surface atop images from ESA’s Mars Express Orbiter. This shows the full context of the rover’s landing, along with a scale to provide info on how large the features on the ground actually are.

“One thing that I found remarkable was the self-similarity of the Martian terrain,” Matthew Earl wrote on his website. “As the lander descends towards the ground it is hard to get a sense of scale, since there is no familiar frame of reference to tell us how far away the ground is.” This is what led him to embark on this project, and he explains the process in great detail on his website.

Raziel Abulafia shared on Twitter his colorized version – along with suitable music — of the heat shield footage, where you can watch the heat sheild falling and crashing, complete with a Wylie Coyote- like puff of dust when it hits the ground.

These are just a few samples of the work done by the “amateurs” out there who do incredible work. With all the stunning imagery the Perseverance rover is sending back, we’re looking forward to more wonderful work by all the imaging editing enthusiasts across the world. You can check out all the raw images produced by the various cameras on the rover here.

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004. She is the author of a new book on the Apollo program, "Eight Years to the Moon," which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible. Her first book, "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond.

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