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When NASA's Perseverance rover landed on Mars Thursday, a set of cameras captured the car-sized spacecraft's descent and landing on the Red Planet.

Why it matters: This is the first time this type of high-quality footage has been captured.

Catch up quick: Perseverance landed on Mars in much the same way as its counterpart on the Red Planet, Curiosity.

  • NASA made use of a supersonic parachute and a small rocket that slowed the rover's descent and used cables to softly lower it to the ground.
  • The rover landed in a crater thought to be one of the best places on Mars to hunt for signs of past life.

Driving the news: The cameras tasked with capturing the landing sent back about 30 gigabytes of footage from Perseverance's landing to waiting scientists on Earth.

  • “This video of Perseverance’s descent is the closest you can get to landing on Mars without putting on a pressure suit,” Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science, said in a statement.
  • Perseverance also recorded the first sounds from Mars not long after making it to the surface.

The big picture: The video and audio captured from Mars has more than just public value. Scientists are also hoping to use both as diagnostic and scientific tools on Mars.

  • Engineers will be able to pore over the landing video from Perseverance to tease out exactly how the system worked on the Red Planet.
  • Future rovers might carry microphones to Mars "because everybody knows that when you hear something squeaking, it's diagnostic," Justin Maki, Perseverance imaging scientist, said during a press conference Monday. "Maybe you need to check it out."

What's next: NASA is planning to continue uploading photos and turning the rover's microphones on as it gets to work on Mars.

  • "I hope it does survive long enough so that we can hear those wheels crunch over the surface of the planet," Matt Wallace, Perseverance deputy project manager, said during the press conference.

Go deeper

Feb 23, 2021 - Podcasts

How memes drive misinformation

For years, there's been growing concern about deepfakes — doctored images and photos that could erode trust in the truth and further the spread of misinformation.

But now, when we think about the anti-vaccine movement, the Capitol insurrection, and even the recent GameStop uprising against Wall Street, it’s becoming clear that memes are what we really should be worried about.

  • Plus, how the census and Supreme Court are changing redistricting
  • And, the pandemic is causing even more of a push for better broadband.

FBI, Homeland Security warn of increasing threat to Capitol

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security predict violent domestic extremists attacks will increase in 2021, according to a report reviewed by Axios.

Driving the news: The joint report says an unidentified group of extremists discussed plans to take control of the Capitol and "remove Democratic lawmakers" on or about March 4. The House canceled its plans for Thursday votes as word of the possible threats spread.

29 mins ago - World

Pope Francis set to make first papal visit to Iraq amid possible turmoil

Data: Vatican News; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Pope Francis is forging ahead with the first papal trip to Iraq despite new coronavirus outbreaks and fears of instability.

The big picture: The March 5–8 visit is intended to reassure Christians in Iraq who were violently persecuted under the Islamic State. Francis also hopes to further ties with Shiite Muslims, AP notes.