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In a first, NASA has released footage of the Perseverance Mars probe’s descent to the surface of the planet, conducted last week.

The footage shows the craft’s entry, descent, and landing on Mars, which occurred on Friday at 7.55am AEDT, following a 482 million kilometre, nearly seven month trip.

The car-size, plutonium-powered rover landed on an ancient river delta full of pits, cliffs and fields of rock. Scientists believe that if life ever flourished on Mars, it would have happened 3 billion to 4 billion years ago, when water still flowed on the planet.

The release of the footage was inspired by the Perseverance deputy project manager Matt Wallace giving a sports camera to his daughter “so she could capture what it was like to do a backflip,” he said at a media conference introducing the footage.

The landing of the six-wheeled vehicle marked the third visit to Mars in just over a week. Two spacecraft from the United Arab Emirates and China swung into orbit around the planet on successive days last week.

with AP

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