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tv   NASA News Conference on Mars Rover Landing  CSPAN  February 19, 2021 5:50am-6:59am EST

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california where we have just landed the most sophisticated and most capable rover on the surface of mars, the perseverance rover. i am of jpl's digital media office and i will be your host today as we gather reaction and also gives a glimpse of what is to come. because of the pandemic,
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everything will look different. we have our masks and the layout is different but i want to introduce our speakers. standing on the floor, we have nasa's acting administrator. we also have mike watkins, the director of jpl. we also have the perseverance project manager. on stage, we have nasa's associate administrator for the science mission directorate. we have nasa's planetary science director. we have matt wallace. and al chen. ken farley, the perseverance project scientist. coming from our surface operations area, we have the deputy project manner. -- manager. over here, we have a group of
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the perseverance team members. we are going to be taking questions during this briefing, so if you are a member of the media and you are on our phone, press star one, and social media, use the #countdowntomars. i want to take a minute to recognize what a thrilling day it has been. congratulations. >> [cheering and applause] >> i am going to turn the podium over. steve: wow. just an amazing, incredible day.
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i could not be more proud of the team, and to what they have accomplished under challenging circumstances. i also have to tell you that about an hour after landing, i got a phone call from the president and his first words were, congratulations, man. only the president could say that. he talked about how proud he was of what we accomplished and he wanted me to -- he wanted me to send my regards to percy and he wanted to congratulate the team for him. he does want to congratulate the team personally and i told him, we will make that happen, so looking forward to having the president of the united states congratulate the team this week. 9 successful landings on mars. the only nation that has
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been able to do that. just incredible. thousands of people working on this to make this happen, at nasa centers, with our industry partners and international partners. i want to call out one of our government agency partners, the department of energy that powered curiosity and are powering perseverance, so thank you to our colleagues. this mission is amazing on its own. science technology and catching samples to bring back to earth, but it is also a part of our bigger exploration plans, which involves really understanding mars, but also preparing for eventually human missions to mars. this is one step along the way of our journey to accomplish that goal and it is a major
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step, and we have embarked on just taking the first steps and embarking on that journey. i just have been amazed that everything went pretty much according to plan. when i heard the touchdown signal come back and saw the first image, i cannot tell you how overcome with emotion i was and happy i was. i did not get a lot of sleep last night, but i think i will sleep really well tonight, so it was an amazing day. i would like to turn it over to my colleague and friend. >> thanks so much. i want to share an event with you that usually happens when i am by myself. what you should know is that every time we do a launch or landing, we get two plants.
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one plant is the one that we want to do and the second plant -- plan is right here. here is for the contingency plan. all: [cheering and applause] >> just about 1.5 hours, a little bit more, history happened right here and i want to play a video that the team put together, but before i do so, you may or may not and the last row, see some covid protocols. you should just know that all of us were doubly masked, and had normally all the distance of the world, but i will tell you later about my emotions, but i had to hug some people. sorry for that, but roll the
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video, please. go ahead. >> we are starting to straighten up and fly right maneuver. navigation has confirmed that the parachute has deployed and we are seeing significant deceleration. maneuver has started. about 20 meters off the surface. >> getting signals from mro. >> touchdown confirmed. to perseverance safely on the surface of mars, ready to begin seeking the signs of past life. it looks like we are getting the first image. [applause] >> what an amazing moment. i have to tell you, after it was reacting of the first five seconds or so, i was overcome with emotions in the back, and i was tearing up. what i thought about was a
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statementre the moment you just saw, and one of the leader said, this is the first time for months that we are all in the same room, and i want to thank you for being here and being a part of the team. many individuals on a monitor here and otherwise were not in that room, and i just wanted to tell you how proud and how moved i was by that team achieving that great success. i was reminded of a statement of a famous coach who was once asked, what are the three most important things that create success in the game and it turns out, the same is true for nasa. in the order of priority. the team, the team, and the team. i want to thank the team for that. thank you so much. [applause]
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of course, for me, this is not an end, but a beginning. now the amazing science starts, and i am so looking forward to the science that is going to come. mars is a yard of mars sample return and to go collect these precious samples and bring it back to earth. you shouldn't no one of the first texts i got from the -- you should know that one of the first texts i got was one of my colleagues, and i wanted to tell him back how excited we are to continue to work with them on this amazing joint mission that we are now endeavoring. of course, with perseverance right there but as we are already starting to develop towards mars sample return and many concrete steps are happening towards another
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horizon goal which is human exploration. i always think of it like it, there is a whole bucket of miracles you need to achieve to do that, and we are taking some miracles off the table. also as we go forward with mars sample return. so the future of mars exploration is broad and exciting and then involves many other nations as well. leaders, many of them are still in school, or even in kindergarten or younger, and those leaders we are going to need as we achieve those amazing goals. i think of the international arteries of 2020 perseverance, and we had 35 vendors from 11 nations that added up to the nearly thousand within the united states. 11 nations that included a lot of them and i have been in some of these nations. i know where these pieces
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are coming from and how proud those nations are. we have three partners that have contributed instruments. france, spain, and norway, and i have texts from our french colleagues. the prime minister was right there with the team and celebrating with them. so glad for the support. we look forward but each of our contributions, the contributions internationally and the ones by the team here will provide information and it tell us about mars, and also the future collaboration that will be enabled by the amazing historic feat today. we do not take this for granted. landing on mars is one of the toughest things even though the team is making them look -- making it look easy. it is incredible to me, just baffled. i told steve this morning, i had to get up in the night twice to
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replace a sweated through t-shirt. i was telling myself i was pretty calm, but my body did not say so. that is no small way because of the next brand i'm going to introduce to you which is mike watkins, the jpl director. mike: thank you. i would like to welcome everyone virtually. this room, many of our journalist colleagues have been in this room for landing they were he actually celebrated all of the mars landings ever accomplished by humankind, and i missed the fact that you are all not here with us today and we usually have the lab buzzing with thousands of folks and because of covid, we are doing this remotely but i hope you still feel a part of this and engage us with questions and follow-up. on behalf of jpl, we have a fantastic project team.
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and others will talk more about that team. i also want to notice the rest of jpl. it really took a lot of folks working together to make this mission successful, and we are working on missions other than therveranc well. we had to keep those missions going, we had to keep our cio office so we could all work remotely, and of course, folks keeping everyone safe in the lab in terms of ppe and facility changes. we had to change the tires while we are going down the highway starting last year. we are very proud of being able to make 2020 a success. now that perseverance is on the surface, i hope you are sharing the magic that i do personally read these first few days on mars, i always think in some
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sense are the most magical. all of the photos and the great helicopter flight, you will follow along with those. but there is something special about the first few days, because we have just landed a representative of the planet earth on a place on mars that nobody has ever been to, no one has ever seen it except for orbital imagery. i believe that that magical sense that we bring is a lot the reason that jpl exists and nasa exists. i and everyone at the lab is very proud to be a part of that. now to talk more about what we expect to do with this mission on the surface, now that we are safely down. i would like to turn it over to my colleague, the head of the planetary science division. thank you. >> thanks so much, really
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appreciate it. wow. there is so much excitement and emotion here today, and i have to extend my thanks to the entire team who really had to work under adverse conditions over the last year, but have worked hard for the six years prior to that, and probably even before that leading up to the beginning of when the project that kicked off. i would also like to make sure i give a shout out and a thank -- thanks to my headquarter staff. we all work together. it was such an honored to be here and sit in the control room with you guys. y'all are incredible, you are amazing. and i know it was not even the full team there. the capabilities are astounding. i am so proud of everything you
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accomplished, and thank you for letting you be a part of it here today. it is really, truly exciting. now that we are on the ground, now the fun really starts. i love hearing from -- i loved, you will hear from ken in a little bit, but the science team is already started. they are already working. ken is already trying to figure out what we are going to do and where we are. fantastic, i cannot wait to get all of the instruments turned on over the next several days and weeks and start collecting data. in particular, over the next few days as we are getting down all of the imaging and the microphone data that we -- were taken during the descent, it will take us all along. we will all get to experience this exactly what it was like. to not just look at the data
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that came back into the parachute deployed and the skytrain operated correctly -- we will get to see it and live it, and participate on the way down. it is going to be amazing. really looking forward to that. i would also like to my time here at give a shout out to to the more than one million students that joined in for the amara student challenge and i want to thank you all for -- can we all thank the students that participated? [applause] fantastic. we are so excited that so many young people around the country and around the world have gotten engaged with this mission, and it is incredibly inspiring. it is your generation that is going to take us forward and analyzing the samples when they come back to earth. we are so happy to have so much
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interaction with the students and the morris challenge, the student challenge is still up there and folks can still sign up and still for dissipate in that activity, so continue to participate. with that, i am going to pass things over to john. congratulations, john. john: thank you. i woke up this morning, and unlike thomas and steve, i slept like a baby. i got a little exercise. i had a little breakfast, landed on mars, so all in all, pretty good day so far. steve: -- [laughter] john: the reason i slept so well , the quality of the team that was brought to bear on this very
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difficult endeavor, and i am talking about extended team that does not just include jpl. we had tremendous support from nasa headquarters, from jpl management, and the technical establishment that exists here at jpl, but also in industry like the other nasa centers that were brought to bear on this project. and a wealth of the contractors that contributed greatly to the success of this mission, so we all celebrated together. it was a very difficult task that we asked people to do, and they delivered, they tested, and we landed. and we have turned it over to the operations team in a minute, and the science team, you will
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hear from jen farley. now they have a real job to do now that we have put this down on the surface. i know that the surface team and the science team are anxious for us to get there, and as we started to get there, they go, oh my god, they are actually going to get there, and we need to finish doing what we need to do to operate this rover. they are doing it as we speak. thanks to all who contributed. i would argue that if i few looked up perseverance in the dictionary, you should see the faces of all of these people that are on the screen here and all of the people on this panel. thank you very much. i am going to turn it over to my partner in crime and the person i call the conscience of the project, matt.
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matt: thank you. thank you for your leadership, it has been a pleasure working with you the last eight years. you know, you just got a chance to watch this team do one of the hardest things we do in our business which is to land a spacecraft on the planet mars. we arrived at mars moving at about 12,000 miles an hour roughly and just in seven short minutes, we had to slow down and gently put perseverance down, and the system just performed flawlessly. getting through 10 or 12 g's of deceleration, eight big main engines had to fire and archer rain -- and our system had to perform the way it was designed, and it is never easy. these things are so complicated,
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we were running a couple million lines of flight software code, and we had something on the order of 30,000 parameters to set and get them all right. it is just a difficult thing to do and it is a real, very gratifying, and quite a relief to be through it, i have to say. the good news, i think the spacecraft is in great shape, and we got through edl. i will give you more information about that. we did transition to our service mode as expected, so we are doing well. we have a couple of images, i'm going to these up on the screen. these are engineering camera images that are taken out of the front of the vehicle and the rear of the vehicle. that is a crater right there and you can see the shadow of the vehicle and you can look out
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into the horizon, and that is just a great thing to see for the team. . the next thing we are going to do here is something we have never tried before. we have never tried to bring the team and to our press conference here, and we want to do that. are you guys ready out there, you guys ready to try this? ok, i think i am getting some nods up and down. we are going to try to switch over and introduce you to the mars 2020 perseverance team. here you go, congratulations, team. >> [cheering and applause]
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>> this is the team that built the computers, they built the structures, they built the radar, they integrated the prop tanks and the thrusters and all of the engines. they built actuators and robot arms and sampling systems. these guys never rested. all of our terrific science instruments, our technology payloads, really, i remarkable team.
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and they did it days, nights, weekends, they worked first shift, second shift, third shift. just a remarkable accomplishment and we are so proud to be a part of what they have done here. and they look good, they look good on tv, so hopefully, you got to see some of the faces and some of the families, maybe a few signs, a couple of pats along the way. congratulations to the whole team and thank you all for everything you have done. and i'm going to turn it over to al chen, the lead of our swashbuckling edl team. al: wow, that was quite a ride. and never gets old, landing on mars, and you are going to want to tell the whole project team thank you, and especially to the edl family out there.
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i am proud of you. you guys did it. usually it takes us a couple of days to figure out where we went, but with the benefit of our system, we know pretty well. if you bring up the first figure, you can see we are off-center just a little bit to the southeast. and it is a pretty good area, but navigation was pretty important here. if you go to the next figure, you can see that we landed in an area that is relatively rugged. ken will tell you about the science of what is there, but i was just worried about what would kill us on landing. red is generally bad, and the system manage to find a nice blue spot in the midst of all of that read, all of the death that is out there for us, so we found a parking lot and hit it.
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the system was absolutely essential in getting us down here and helping us figure out where we are right away. we are in a nice flat spot, the vehicles only tilted by 1.2 degrees, so we did successfully find the parking lot and have a safe rover on the ground. i could not be more proud of my team for doing that. that's really all i have to say. >> this is the end of my journey with perseverance, but the adventure, the mission is really just beginning. let me toss it over to jennifer to talk about surface work. jennifer: thank you, al. you and your team did a fantastic job and we are so grateful. i am most feel like i'm in a dream. our job is to think of the the best things that happened, and i am dreaming today, and happy to be here. first, i want to do the most
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important thing which is introduce you to another portion of the team, some of these folks worked downstairs for landing and some of them were up here doing surface operations. the team wants to share their excitement with you about being on the surface of mars, getting ready for an amazing science mission. this team is awaiting the odyssey overflight. [applause] yes, give them a hand. thank you. this team is awaiting the odyssey overflight which will happen about 4:00 or 4:30 p.m. at 6:30 p.m., there will be in overflight with a fair amount of data and that is what everyone is looking forward to, these images that mike talked about. if everything goes well, we will likely get the deployed covers,
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what you are looking at was that hash cans without the cover is deployed. we hope we will get thumbnail movies. and it is possible we will get an actual image from the dissent , the last 10 meters before we landed on the surface. we are all on the edge of our seats looking forward to getting those images. just a few other stats, we think we are facing southeast based on the shadows, 140 degrees. the tilt as al said as al said is 1.2 degrees. the power system looks good. the rtg. the generator before we landed was at 105 watts, and we think it will go higher. batteries are charged at 95% and everything looks great. we are excited to get the next set of information from perseverance. the team will get images tonight but over the next few days, we spend a little bit of time
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unwrapping the rover the mast does not the ploy. we will deploy it here, and then we will deploy the high grade at -- antenna. we can command it, but only through an omnidirectional antenna here. we are excited to be opening up the rover over the next few days and after that, we will transition the software and we were finishing as many people were working on this mission for years and we were finishing the surface software as we were on mars and then we will finish the checkouts with all of the instruments, and we will drive to our heli flight demo lake
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-- location. i spent time talking to -- and there is a ripple field between us. we might be doing some driving around the rebel fields. we are going to spend some time figuring out what the traverse places are and where the helicopter demo flight should be. that is what we are working on. i would like to say, as i step back, it is great to be able to share the success and i am so happy for the team who has worked so hard. this is an incredible team and they have pushed through so many challenges, but we are also happy to share the success with everyone who was cheering for us. we are excited for you to join us on this great mission on mars that we are going to go through over the next several years, learning more. with that, i will hand it over to ken farley.
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ken: thanks, jennifer. i would say, wow, we have a science mission. it has been a long road to get here. one of the things i would point out, it is not obvious from the outside, but a mission like this is a lot like a dedicated long -- decade-long relay race. as the pandemic was closing in, it was raced off to the cape to make the launch. the second leg was to get through space and arrived successfully as we have done, and the third leg is the one we are about to embark on, the science mission. there are thousands of people all along the way and at each step, those people peel off and move on to new jobs. on behalf of the science team, i want to thank my friends to the right, and all of the folks that got us to where we are.
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thank you all for that, and we are going to do you proud in the science mission. i want to start off saying a few words about where we are and what we know so far. this is obviously not based on much information, and my phone is buzzing all the time with people telling me things, so we are already setting the process the thing that we have, but you can see that we landed to be southeast of the delta. we were two kilometers to the southeast of the delta. kilometers to the southeast of the delta. we are right on the boundary between two different geologic units. the smooth area that we landed on and the rough area where the dunes are. this is a great place to be. one of the things that scientists love to do is look to see how different geologic units come together. we are really excited to get going on this.
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if i could have the next image. these images, these are actually taken in one of the color bands. they are taken through the protective lens cap on the camera. these are just amazing things we got back. you can already see some important things. there are rocks in this field of view. they might be about 10 centimeters would be a reasonable guess. they will undoubtedly be some of the first objects we explore once the kind of shakedown phase is complete. in the background, we believe that we can see the delta. there are features that look like the cliffs of the delta. when we get those images back, we should know more about that.
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we can also see some sand dunes and something of a relief, our imaging scientist told me, looks like mars. so i'm glad we have successfully landed on mars. we have years of scientific investigation ahead of us. >> thank you. we are about to start q&a. if you are a reporter on our phone lines, you can press star one. if you are on social media, use #countdowntomars. our first question comes from steve of cbs news. >> congratulations to everyone involved. i would like to focus my question to matt and al. we see you through the lenses of the cameras as this is happening.
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could you describe for us what was going through your minds, your hearts, what were the emotions as the seven minutes of terror were taking place, and when you knew that perseverance had safely touched down on mars? . >> it is hard to really describe. you think you are prepared for it. it is part of our business in some ways. we are exploring. we are going places. we know there's risk. we know there's uncertainty. i don't think a single workday went by for the last eight or nine years where i didn't think about this landing. you always worry, did you make the right decision? did you test the right things? did you put the right people in charge? we clearly did. but it just consumes you.
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in some ways, it is hard still to believe that we finished it and that we are done. it still feels a little surreal. it just becomes embedded in the way you think. you have to be constantly terrified of it. you have to respect it. you have to somehow believe that you can do it or else you would never try to put a car on the surface of mars. so it is part of what we do, i guess. at some point, it becomes part of how you think. but there really is no good way to describe that moment when it is over and you hear those words , touchdown confirmed. it is just a remarkable feeling of pride in the team, relief,
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and really joy, thinking forward to this remarkable mission we have coming up. let me turn it over to al. >> those seven minutes are still pretty raw for me. the vehicle is going on a roller coaster ride. and you are too. pieces of data come back. you start feeling good. then something comes by that doesn't match what you thought. should i have expected that? then your stomach drops. things are ok again. you pick up that next piece of information. it is an emotional roller coaster ride all the way down. you are second-guessing yourself as you go even though it has already happened. it is a feeling of being very fortunate for me that i get to
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work at a place with people who are great people and we get to do mighty things together. >> thank you. our next caller is marsha dunn of the apa. >> congratulations. all those blue dots -- sorry, the red dots surrounding the little blue patch, are those mostly rocks? how close do you think you came from something that could have doomed the mission on landing? >> we will have to look at what we had there. in general, we make these maps a little scarier. these maps are typically saturated at what we consider 4% hazard. some of these are definitely problems, but there's individual rocks that are marked there. but the system did what it was supposed to do.
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it found the safest area available to it and went there. >> great, thank you. next call is from paul of upi. >> thanks for taking my question. i'm wondering if someone can -- i realize you haven't seen the descent images yet, but to what extent do you expect any major changes in the planned route based on those images, and about how much imagery do you think you are going to get? how much better will it be than what you have from the orbiters? i don't know if that would be for laurie or jennifer. >> i think jennifer. >> go ahead, jennifer. >> i can talk a little bit about the images. we think we will get all the entry descent and landing movies
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down so we can see basically that front row seat of what happened, all the different cameras. as far as where we might go once we see those, i can probably toss that over to ken. >> i expect that what we will do is explore that contact i mentioned. and as jennifer mentioned, that is a dune field and we might have to go around the dune field, but i expect we will go around it one direction or the other towards the delta. >> great, thank you. next reporter question from sam. >> thanks for taking my question. we had two mics on board. when might we know if perseverance was successful in recording?
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>> jennifer, you want to take that one? >> we should get some of that information tonight and tomorrow morning. hopefully we will be able to understand what those sounded like. >> great, thank you. next reporter is kate from pbs newshour. >> can you hear me? wonderful. congratulations to the team. great job. my question follows on the last two about the imagery from the cameras on the dissent vehicle and the rover itself. you say they are going to come down starting tonight and overnight. is that all of them? i know there were some go pro sort of rugged sports cameras
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pointed in all directions, high-speed video. do you expect it all to come down in the next few hours or is that going to trickle in over days? when do you expect to release it? >> i can give you kind of an overview there. you are correct. as i think thomas mentioned or others mentioned, we are going to be able to see ourselves in high definition video on another planet. we put commercial cameras at various locations on the vehicle. three of them looking up, one looking down at the rover, one on the rover that looks up, and then we have one on the rover looking down as well. we think we are going to capture some pretty spectacular video. and they come with a microphone as well.
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i think that is what you are asking about. we are hoping we can bring one still image from those cameras to the table tomorrow from the dissent stage looking down at the rover. i think that hopefully we will see that and i'm hoping that is going to be a remarkable image. the first video product we are going to work on over the weekend, we are going to try to bring that to a press conference on monday. i think that is going to be something to see. it is going to be remarkable. >> thank you. >> our next reporter is stephen clark. go ahead, stephen. >> thank you for taking my question. just wondering if you can go through the next couple days in some more detail about when the
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lens covers are going to be open, when the antenna will have a lock on earth, and when the mast will be deployed. just walk me through that, please. and maybe the mars sample campaign was really hinging on the outcome of today. just want to get your comments on any relief that your whole mars sample return strategy is reality now after today's outcome. thanks. >> i'll start with what we are doing over the next several -- right after the rover landed, we did release our high gain antenna and lens covers, which is why the images we expect to see this evening will be without the lens covers. the first four or five, we are
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trying to get the power, the thermal, the communications, the infrastructure stabilized so we can load the software. we actually gyro compassed today as well to see if we can understand our orientation and point behind gain antenna at earth. if we get good pointing, we will start commanding the vehicle through that antenna. we are trying to get that working. we will release the remote-sensing mask and deploy that mask. while we are doing these things, we are also doing other health checks of other instruments. over the course of these early activities, we will charge the rover battery. once we deploy, that is when we will take those initial images
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with the cameras. we will take those and then the mast will take those panoramas and those, we will be sending that data along with additional data and the other data we talked about. so we actually start to load and burn into the rce. once we start to do that, we do about four days of transitioning. we make sure that nothing goes wrong. at the end of that, we start the next set of checkouts, where we will deploy the arms, do our first drive about five meters forward and back. once we get that checked out, we will start to drive towards a site. we have certain requirements in terms of rock sizes and flatness.
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we are looking for that now. that ends up being a few weeks, but we are excited about it all. >> i want to quickly talk about your second question. there's a lot of friends all over the world who had a sigh of relief when everything went well with this touchdown. they are all working really hard on these new technologies. to bring together two of the most amazing missions, to now bring the samples back. the work started years ago. the system development here and elsewhere, there's two principles we used two set the timing. first, we overspend on success. in our business, even if you threat -- swept through shirt or not, you bet on success.
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the second one is -- not only makes it more effective in that regard, but also saves a lot of money because we can use the systems we have now, move toward that return. there's a lot of people excited right now all over the world. lori, anything you wanted to add? >> i think you covered that really well. the only thing i would say, it is always nerve-racking as we go through the edl for a lander or rover, but it was definitely so this time. the return is reliant on the success of perseverance. we definitely heaved a sigh of relief, but definitely really
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exciting that we have now really embarked on that chapter one of mars sample return for real. >> thank you. we are going to do a social media question. on instagram, if perseverance finds signs of past or present life, what would we do next? >> that is a great question. there's still so much to do on mars. it is a fascinating place. it is a wonderful laboratory for doing incredible science. certainly the big question right now is this question about the evolution of mars and the existence or not of past life that has been preserved. that is our focus right now. but we are always looking forward to the additional science we are going to do in the future.
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thinking about how planets form, how they evolve. mars is a great place to work on those questions. >> thank you. we are going to go back to the reporter phone lines. >> thank you all. congratulations. it was really a great day for all of us watching. just to kind of piggyback off the question about what the near future holds, could you go out like another couple weeks or a month or so? how long do you anticipate it will take to get to the helicopter site, and when will the rover be able to start doing science and start gathering samples and so on? thank you. >> i talked about, once we get the robotic arm working and we get mobility working, we will find the flight demo site.
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depending on how close that site is, we have to traverse to it and we still have the helicopter underneath the rover. we have to be a little more careful when we are doing that. it really depends on where we find a flight demo site. then we will spend 30 sols, martian days, for the helicopter demo. prior to that, it will take about 10 sols to get the helicopter deployed, move the rover away. i like to say -- it is always hard to estimate exactly when things happen, but we will be flying the helicopter in the spring. after that, we are going to upgrade our auto navigation capability on the rover. then we will drive toward the first science site that ken and
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his team are interested in going to. that is the point where we will be doing the first sampling. i like to say summer is the timeframe. those things can change. they might go faster or take a longer time. that is a longer plan. and one thing i will throw in, conjunction is around september. we are not able to communicate because the sun is between earth and mars. during that time, we will finish off some efficiency and operability capabilities for the vehicle. after conjunction, we will upload that new flight software build. then we can do things faster than originally planned. >> do you want to talk about the science part? >> it is a little premature to
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say very much yet. i mentioned in a previous discussion that there are 450 science team members and most of them are sending me text and emails. but we have to get together and come up with a plan. >> thank you. the next reporter question comes from jackie goddard of the times of london. >> hello and congratulations. that includes all the folks on those screens at kitchen tables and on counters with your dogs and cats and kids. can one of you on the panel give us some examples of the complexity of the challenges that you faced getting this mission to mars under pandemic conditions, and to what extent will covid continue to affect operations? thank you. >> i can start us off and say a
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few words. i will let jennifer say a bit about looking out to the future. the pandemic struck at just about the worst time for this mission. we had to ship the vehicle down to kennedy space center. it was in pieces. we had to put it together. you can't make mistakes. there is no safety net at that point. you have to do it right. we were still finishing some of the flight hardware at jpl. we had very little schedule margin. the teams were already working multiple shifts and i had already scheduled out the weekends. we had to react very quickly. normally you are just focused on trying to do the job, do it right, and get it done in time.
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suddenly, we had to start thinking about how to keep the team safe and their families safe and how to get through all these logistical challenges. we were quickly trying to understand the protective equipment we had to bring in, what kind of social distancing we had to deal with, how many people could stand around the rover, how close could they be -- we were just struggling to understand if all of our support community, the companies that just clean the garments or bring the nitrogen in, whether or not they were going to be there and continue to deliver the things that we needed to keep going. we had people here at jpl that had to travel to kennedy space center and we couldn't travel
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commercial. we had to get help from nasa headquarters. our friends helped us with transporting the jet back and forth. we got support out of another nasa facility to fly some of our hardware there and back. it was a very challenging time. and then we had to figure out how to launch the thing and fly it when we had all these constraints as well. we were modifying our processes and protocols. just very challenging. and i think the team, like all of you out there, they are worried. worried about their parents or grandparents, worried about their kids, worried about taking
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care of kids at home, so it was a tough time. we decided to try to market. we put a covid plate on the port side of the rover. you can see the video there of us installing the plate at kennedy space center. that plate was there to symbolize the challenge that not just our team was facing, but everybody has been facing. it has been a tough year. it has been tough to do this mission in this environment. but the team, like with every other challenge, has stepped up. we got a lot of help from the institutions and the agency and i think that is going to continue into the future.
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jennifer, do you want to add anything? >> we are not altogether and that is very unusual for a landing. ken is talking about his phone blowing up. usually that would be a big meeting where we all talk about what the science of the mission is and what we want to do. the engineering team is largely on site right now. to finish development was a struggle being remote. these are complex systems. they take a lot of individual expertise put together in a way that we can operate a vehicle, that we can build software that makes that vehicle work, and doing all that remotely has been hard for the team. the science team now is fully remote. just like all of you guys, i worked from my laundry room for the last several months.
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my kids are in zoom school. people say they can't hear me because of the washer going. everybody has these challenges that are going on. but the team has been fantastic and overcome every challenge. we have robots on the floor where if you are remote, you can log into one of the robots and drive it around and go talk to the people. so we've learned a lot about how to do things remotely. i think it has changed how we think about the problem but it is challenging. i look forward to the time when we can all be together again and not have all the restrictions. i am in a room by myself which is the only reason i'm not wearing a mask. one of the things the team missed out on was the excitement and energy that comes from being altogether before a landing.
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we were together but it was remotely. i think it will be fun and great for the team to get back together again when we can do that. >> thanks, jennifer. next call comes from the los angeles times. >> thank you so much for taking my call. can you hear me? ok, great. i had a couple of questions here. congratulations. to jump off that last question, i was wondering if these restrictions will be affecting how you guys deal with mars time. will that be affecting the mars time experience? and also, the experience of the rover drivers. how will that change? >> the mars time question is great. mars time, as you know, is, we get up in the morning and our
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clock changes by 40 minutes every day. when you are all here and you are together, that kind of works. but when you are sitting in your living room or in your house, if you need to be on all night long planning the rover sequences, that may not work out for your spouse or your family. we've had to change -- in some cases we've had to create remote but on-site places for people to come to. we don't want to gather too many people together. but we have a couple dozen people who are remote but still coming to the lab during mars time so they can not interfere with their family life which is not on mars time. the rover planners are going to get busy. they are trying to come up with strategic traverses with the
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images we have. they have some unique equipment they need to use. we've set up some different locations where they can come in and use that equipment. we have some in this building and we've set some up in another building, so rover planners can come in. it is different and it is different for the families. and it is different for the families. we will see how it works. we have 50 people in here that are actually at the facility and on consul as you can see behind me. >> thanks, jennifer. the next call comes from leo of irish tv. >> thanks very much. as we say in the irish language, [speaking irish] to those
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involved. many congratulations. i have a detailed question ready, but jennifer mentioned a robot that they are using to communicate. i was not quite clear about that. i thought i would ask about that a bit more. >> it is a robot you can log into and essentially drive it around in your face will be in their -- in there. you can drive up to talk to somebody close to that six feet and have a conversation with them. ♪ . is it a rover or what is it?
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>> it is a robot that moves around that we drive remotely around the floor. it really is has wheels and then a screen. it is a moving computer screen. >> can i do a follow-up? >> sure. >> ok, thanks. i do have a question for cap -- for ken. this assumes screen is fantastic because we are all used to the crowd coming in in jpl after a landing and the other tradition is a journalist with a geeky question. i wanted to ask, can you clarify where you have landed, and can
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you tell me whether you have looked at channel islands and the aircraft there that does appear to be a delta formation, and would you consider doing a quick run to channel islands rather than a long run to the delta? >> let me clarify what is going on here. the science team has specified locations to specific region. it is for those quadrangle's honor -- on earth that we look at and take observations of. i'm not sure exactly where the feature you were referring.
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i still think are most likely to miss this nation's going to be to the northwest and that we will very likely up to the delta front. >> vence on youtube asks was the landing today the best one so far? >> yes. 100%. this is my fifth mars rover, jennifer and a handful of others on have worked a number of these. they are all very, very special, i have to say. but as of this moment right now, this is the best landing on mars i would have to say. >> that's all the time we have for questions today. if you still have a question,
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you can contact the jpl media office. we will continue to answer questions on social media. tune in to nasa tv tomorrow. we will give you another update about the start of the service mission. if you want more updates, you can also go online to and mars. for additional information. you can also follow us on social media. one last thing before we go. if you wanted to welcome our latest robotic explorer to mars, mars will be visible in the night sky tonight, so have a look. thank you very much for joining us. go perseverance. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021]
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[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> the 117 congress includes over 60 new members in this diverse group includes first-generation immigrants, state representatives, television reporters and former college and professional athletes. watch our conversations with new members of congress tonight we feature freshmen members who served in the military including -- watch interviews with new members of congress tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, online at or listen on the c-span radio app. >> coming up in an hour, the former 9/11 commission chair and former new jersey governor tom kane discusses the january 6 insurrection at the u.s. capitol. at 830 a.m., afghanistan's
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