Feb 18, 2021

NASA Press Conference Transcript February 18: After Perseverance Rover Lands on Mars

NASA Press Conference Transcript February 18: After Perseverance Rover Lands on Mars
RevBlogTranscriptsNASA Press Conference Transcript February 18: After Perseverance Rover Lands on Mars

NASA mission experts held a press conference on February 18, 2021 to discuss the successful landing of the 2020 Perseverance rover on Mars and the search for life. Read the transcript of the briefing with mission details here.

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Jia-Rui Cook: (00:00)
Hello and welcome to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, where we have just landed the most sophisticated and most capable rover yet on the surface of Mars, the Perseverance Rover. I’m Jia-Rui Cook of JPL’s digital news and media office, and I’ll be your host today as we gather reactions from our key players from the landing and also give a glimpse of what’s to come. So because of the coronavirus pandemic, everything’s going to look a little different today. We have our masks on and the layout is a little different, but I want to introduce our speakers to you.

Jia-Rui Cook: (01:31)
So standing on the floor of Von Karman Auditorium, we have Steve Jurczyk, NASA’s acting administrator. We also have Mike Watkins, the director of JPL. And then we also have John McNamee Perseverance’s project manager. Up on the stage, we have Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate. We have Lori Glaze, NASA’s planetary science director. We have Matt Wallace, the Perseverance deputy project manager; and Al Chen, entry, descent and landing lead; Ken Farley, the Perseverance project scientist; and then coming from our surface operations area, we have Jennifer Trosper, deputy project manager. And over here, we have a special group on our video conference. We have a group of the Perseverance team members. All right, so we are going to be taking questions during this briefing, so if you’re a member of the media and you’re on our phone lines, press star-one and you’ll be put into the queue. And if you’re on social media, use the hashtag #CountdownToMars. But before I turn it over the podium, I just wanted to take one minute to recognize what a thrilling day today has been. We now have the most ambitious rover yet on the surface of Mars. Congratulations.

Speaker 1: (02:57)
[inaudible 00:02:57].

Jia-Rui Cook: (02:57)
All right, I’m going to turn the podium over to Steve Jurczyk.

Steve Jurczyk: (03:22)
Wow. I mean, just an amazing, incredible day. I could not be more proud of the team and what they’ve done, what they’ve accomplished under challenging circumstances. I also have to tell you that about an hour after landing, I got a phone call from the President of the United States, and his first words were “Congratulations, man,” and I knew it was him. I wasn’t getting [inaudible 00:03:49]. Only a president can say “Congratulations, man.” He talked about how proud he was of what we accomplished, and he wanted me to send my his regards to Percy, and he wanted to congratulate the team. He wanted me to congratulate the team for him. He does want to congratulate the team personally, and I told him we will make that happen, and so looking forward to having the President of United States congratulate the team this week.

Steve Jurczyk: (04:21)
Nine successful landings on Mars. The only nation that’s been able to do that. Just incredible. Thousands of people working on this to make this happen at the Jet Propulsion Lab, at NASA Centers, with our industry partners and international partners. I want to call out one of our other government agency partners. The Department of Energy Develops the radioisotope thermo generators first, the RTDs that power Curiosity and are powering Perseverance, and it’s a great partnership, so thank you to our DoE colleagues. This mission is amazing on its own. Science, technology and caching samples to bring back to earth, but it’s also part of our bigger exploration plans, right? Which involve really understanding Mars and the evolution of Mars and whether there was life, ancient life, but also preparing for eventually human missions to Mars.

Steve Jurczyk: (05:18)
And so this is one step along the way of our journey to accomplish that goal, and it’s a major step, and we’ve embarked on that. We’ve taken the first steps in embarking on that journey. Again, I just am … I’m amazed that everything went pretty much according to plan, and 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 didn’t get a lot of sleep last night. I think I’m going to get sleep really well tonight, so again, just an amazing day. With that, I would like to turn it over to my colleague and friend, Dr. Zurbuchen.

Thomas Zurbuchen: (06:12)
Well, thanks so much, Steve, and I want to share an event with you that usually happens when I’m by myself. And what you should know is that every time we do a launch or we do a landing, we get two plans. One plan is the one we want to do, and then there’s that second plan, which is right here. That’s the contingency plan. Here is for the contingency plan. All right.

Thomas Zurbuchen: (06:48)
Just about one and a half hours, a little bit more, history happened right here, and I want to play a video that the team put together. Before I do so, I want to just warn you, you may or may not in the last row, see some bent COVID protocols. You should just know that all of us who are involved back there are doubly masked and normally have all the distance in the world, but I will tell you later about my emotions there. But I had to hug some people. Sorry for that, Steve and everybody, but roll the video, please. Let’s live back that moment we had. Go ahead.

Speaker 2: (07:31)
We are starting the straighten up and fly right maneuver in preparation for parachute deployed.

NASA Team: (07:36)
Yes! Yes!

Speaker 2: (07:38)
The navigation has confirmed that the parachute has deployed, and we are seeing significant deceleration. Sky crane maneuver has started about 20 meters off the service.

Speaker 3: (07:50)
We’re getting signals from MRO.

Speaker 2: (07:53)
Touchdown confirmed. Perseverance is safely on the surface of Mars and ready to begin seeking the signs of past life.

NASA Team: (08:02)
[inaudible 00:08:02].

Speaker 2: (08:04)
Looks like we’re getting the first image.

NASA Team: (08:08)

Thomas Zurbuchen: (08:08)
What an amazing moment. I have to tell you, after I was kind of reacting the first five seconds or so, I was overcome with emotions, frankly, in the back there, and I was tearing up. And, frankly, what I thought about is a statement that was made 20 minutes or so before the moments you just saw when one of the leaders said, “This is the first time for months that we’re all in the same room, and I want to thank you for being here and being part of the team.” Of course, many individuals on the monitor here and otherwise were not in that room, and I just wanted to tell you how proud and so moved I was by that team achieving that amazing success.

Thomas Zurbuchen: (08:54)
I was of a statement of a famous coach who once was asked, “What are the three most important things that create success in the game?” And it turns out the same is true for NASA, and here are the following three in the order of priority: the team, the team, and the team, and I just really want to thank the team for that. Thanks so much. Of course, for me, this is not an end but a beginning. Now, the amazing science starts, and I’m just so looking forward to designs that’s going to come. Every yard on the surface of Mars is a yard of Mars sample return to go collect these precious samples and bring them back to earth.

Thomas Zurbuchen: (09:48)
And, of course, you should know that one of the first tax sack out from international community was from my friend, David Parker, my colleague, over in ESA, who sent his congratulation. I just want to tell him back how excited we are to continue to work with them on this amazing joint mission, this international history-making mission that we’re now endeavoring, of course, with Perseverance right there. But as we’re already starting to develop some of the team members moving over towards Mars sample return, and many concrete steps are also happening, of course, towards another horizon goal, which is human exploration of Mars as well.

Thomas Zurbuchen: (10:29)
I always think of it as there’s a whole bucket of miracles you need to achieve to do that, and we’re taking some miracles off the table, both today but also as we go forward with Mars sample return. So the future of Mars exploration is just so broad and exciting and involves many other nations as well. And leaders, many of them are still in school or even in kindergarten or younger, and those leaders we’re going to need as we do achieve those amazing goals. I want to think of the international partners of Mars 2020 Perseverance, and we had something like 35 vendors from 11 nations that, of course, added up to the nearly thousand within the United States. 11 nations that included a lot of them, and I’ve been in some of these nations, and I know where these pieces are coming from and how proud those nations are.

Thomas Zurbuchen: (11:26)
Of course, over and above that, we have three partners that have contributed instruments: France, Spain, and Norway. And I have texts from our French colleagues, for example. The prime minister was right there with the team and celebrating with them. I’m just so glad for the support in each one of those countries they’re receiving from their governments, and we look forward that each of our contributions, the contributions internationally, and the ones by the team here will provide information on and tell us about Mars and also the future collaboration that will be enabled by the amazing historic feat today.

Thomas Zurbuchen: (12:04)
Mars is always hard. We don’t take this for granted. Landing on Mars is one of the toughest things, even though the team is making it look easy. I have to tell you. I mean, it’s just incredible to me. I’m baffled. I told Steve this morning, I have to get up in the night twice to replace a sweated through wet T-shirt with a new one. I was telling myself I’m pretty calm. Apparently my body did not say so, but this next night, I’m sure I only need one of them as we go forward. That’s in no small way because of my next friend I’m going to introduce to you, which is of course Mike Watkins, who’s the JPL director. Take it away, Mike.

Mike Watkins: (12:49)
Thank you, Thomas. I’d like to welcome everyone virtually to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory here. This room, many of our journalist colleagues have been in this room for landing day. We’ve actually celebrated all of the Mars landings ever accomplished by humankind here in this room, and I miss the fact that you’re not all here with us today. We usually have the lab buzzing with thousands of folks, and because of COVID, we’re doing this remotely, but I hope you still feel a part of this, and certainly feel free to engage us with questions and follow up. On behalf of JPL, I have to say we have a fantastic project team. No question about it, and John McNamee and Matt Wallace will talk a lot more about that team.

Mike Watkins: (13:31)
But I want to also notice the rest of JPL. It really took a lot of folks working together to make this mission successful, and, of course, we’re working on missions other than Mars Perseverance as well. We had to keep those missions going. We had to keep March 2020 going. We had to use our CIO office to make sure we could all work in a virtual sense, work remotely, and, of course, folks keeping everyone safe in the lab in terms of PPE and facility changes. We sort of had to change the tires while we’re going down the highway starting last year, and we are very proud of having been able to make 2020 a success.

Mike Watkins: (14:13)
And now that Perseverance is on the surface, I hope you are sharing the magic that I do personally. These first few days on Mars I always think in some sense are the most magical. All of the great panoramas and the color photos and great science and our sample acquisition and the helicopter flight, you will follow along with those and see them in the coming months. 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 no one has ever been to. No one has ever seen it except from orbital imagery from a few hundred miles up above Mars, and I believe that that magical sense that we bring is a lot of the reason that JPL exists and NASA exists. I and everyone at the lab is very proud to be part of that.

Mike Watkins: (15:09)
And now to talk more about what we expect to do with this mission on the surface, now that we are safely down, I’d like to turn it over to my colleague, Dr. Lori Glaze, the head of the Planetary Science Division and NASA Headquarters. Thank you.

Lori Glaze: (15:23)
Thanks so much, Mike. Really appreciate it. Yeah, I mean just wow. There’s just so much excitement and emotion here today, and I, of course, have to extend my thanks as well 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 as well and probably even before that leading up to the beginning of when the project got kicked off. I’d also like to make sure I give a little shout out in some thanks to my headquarters staff that support this as well. We all work together.

Lori Glaze: (16:03)
It’s all one big team, and I wanted to tell the folks here, the Mars 2020 team, that it was just such an honor to be here and be allowed to sit in the control room with you guys. Y’all are incredible. You’re amazing, and I know it wasn’t even the full team there and the full breadth of that team. The capabilities are just astounding, and so I’m just so proud of everything you’ve accomplished, and thank you for letting me be a part of it here today. It is really, truly exciting. Now that we’re on the ground, now the fun really starts, and I loved … You’re going to hear here from Ken in a little bit. We’re talking to him right after landing, and the science team’s already getting started. They’re already working. Ken’s in there looking at the pictures, the first few that we got down, and he’s already looking at them and trying to figure out what we’re going to do and where we are.

Lori Glaze: (16:54)
So fantastic. I can’t wait to get all the instruments turned on over the next several days and weeks and start collecting data. And in particular over the next few days as we’re getting down all of the imaging and the microphone data that were taken during the descent, I think it’s going to take us all along on that descent. We’re all going to get to experience just exactly what that was like. This will be the first time we’ve ever had that opportunity to not just look at the data that came back and said, “Yes, the parachute deployed,” and “Yes, the sky crane operated correctly.” We’re going to get to see it and live it and participate, every one of us, on that way down. It’s going to be amazing, so really, really looking forward to that.

Lori Glaze: (17:41)
I’d also like to, in my time here, give a shout out to the more than one million students that joined in for the Mars Student Challenge, and I want to thank you all for … Can we all thank the students that participated? Fantastic. We’re …

Lori Glaze: (18:03)
Fantastic. We’re just so excited that so many young people around the country and around the world have gotten engaged with this mission. It’s incredibly inspiring. And as Thomas said, it’s your generation that’s going to take us forward. It’s your generation that’s going to be analyzing these samples when they come back to earth. And we’re just so happy to have so much interaction with the students. The Mars Challenge, the student challenge, is still up there and folks can still sign up and still participate in that activity, just continue to participate.

Lori Glaze: (18:41)
With that, I am going to pass things over to John. Thank you so much, John McNamee, who is our project manager. Congratulations, John. Thank you so much.

John McNamee: (18:53)
Thank you, Lori. I woke up this morning, unlike Thomas and Steve, I slept like a baby and I’ll tell you why in a minute. Got a little exercise, had a little breakfast, landed on Mars, so all in all, pretty good day so far.

John McNamee: (19:13)
The reason I slept so well is, probably closer knowledge than Thomas and Steve and Lori of the quality of the team that was brought to bear on this very, very difficult endeavor. And I’m talking about the very much extended team, that doesn’t just include JPL. We got tremendous support from NASA headquarters, from JPL management, the technical establishment that exists here at JPL in the technical divisions, but also in industry, the other NASA centers that were brought to bear on this project, our international partners, and a wealth of contractors that contributed greatly to the success of this mission. So we all celebrate it together, for sure.

John McNamee: (20:10)
It was a very difficult task that we asked people to do. They delivered. They tested and we landed. And now we’ve turned it over to the operations team, you’ll hear from Jennifer Trosper here in a minute, and the science team, you’ll hear from Ken Farley in a minute. Now they have a job to do, a real job to do, now that we’ve put this down on the surface.

John McNamee: (20:36)
I know that the surface team and the science team were anxious for us to get there. And then as we started to get there they go, “Oh my God, they’re actually going to get there. We need to finish doing what we need to do to operate this rover.” Well, they did that and, in fact, they’re doing it as we speak right now.

John McNamee: (20:56)
So anyway, thanks to all who contributed. I would argue that if you 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. So thank you very much. I’m going to turn it over to my partner in crime and the person I call the conscience of the project, essentially from the get-go, Matt Wallace.

Matt Wallace: (21:28)
Thank you very much, John, and thank you for your leadership. It’s been a pleasure working with you the last eight years, I have to say. 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 seven short minutes, we had to slow down and gently put Perseverance down in Jezero crater. And the system just performed flawlessly. Get through 10 or 12 GS of deceleration, a supersonic parachute deployment, eight big, main engines had to fire, our terrain relative navigation has an avoidance system, had to perform the way it was designed. It’s never easy. These things are so complicated.

Matt Wallace: (22:25)
We were running a couple million lines of flight software code. I think we had something on the order of 30,000 parameters to set and get them all right. It’s just a difficult thing to do. And it’s very gratifying and quite a relief to be through it, I have to say. The good news is, I think the spacecraft is in great shape. We got through EDL very well. Al Chen will give you a little more information about that. We did transition into our surface mode as we expected to. And so we’re doing well.

Matt Wallace: (23:04)
We do have a couple images. I’m going to pop these up, I think, on the screen. If you can bring up our hazcam imagery. These are engineering camera images that are taken out the front of the vehicle and the rear of the vehicle when we land. That’s Jezero crater right there, and you can see the shadow of the vehicle and you can look out into the horizon. That is just a great thing to see for the team.

Matt Wallace: (23:35)
So, the next thing we’re going to do here is something we’ve never tried before, in addition to landing at Jezero crater, we have never tried to bring the team into our press conference here, and we want to try to do that. So are you guys ready out there? The coms team ready? You guys ready to try this? Okay. I think I’m getting some nods up and down. All right, here we go. We’re going to try to switch over and introduce you to the Mars 2020 Perseverance team. Here you go. Congratulations team.

Matt Wallace: (24:55)
This is the team that built the computers. They built the structures. They built the radars. They integrated the prop tanks and the thrusters and all the engines. They built actuators and robot arms and sampling systems. These guys just never, never rested. All of our terrific science instruments, our technology payloads, really a remarkable team. And they did it days. They did it nights. They did it weekends. They worked through holidays. They worked first shift, second shift, third shift, just a remarkable accomplishment. And we’re so proud to be part of what they’ve done here. And they look good. They look good on TV, I think. Hopefully you got to see some of the faces and some of the families, maybe a few signs, a couple pets along the way, but congratulations to the whole team and thank you all for everything you’ve done.

Matt Wallace: (26:04)
I’m going to turn it over to Al Chen. He is the lead of our swashbuckling EDL team. And he’s going to tell you a little bit more about entry, descent and landing.

Al Chen: (26:14)
Thanks, Matt. Wow. That was quite a ride. It never gets old, landing on Mars. And I want to tell the whole project team, thank you. And especially to the EDL family out there, I’m really proud of you. You guys did it.

Al Chen: (26:29)
I can show you a little bit about what we know so far. Usually it takes us a couple of days to figure out where we went, but with a side benefit of our terrain relative navigation system, we know pretty well where we went. If you bring up the first figure, you can see that we’re off the center just a little bit to the Southeast about a kilometer, 1.7 kilometers or so to the Southeast. That’s a pretty good area, but terrain relative navigation was pretty important here. If you go to the next figure, and not just for telling us where we are, you can see that we landed in an area that’s relatively rugged there. And I think Ken will be able to tell you about the science of what’s there, but I was just worried about what would kill us on landing.

Al Chen: (27:08)
So if you go to the next slide here, red is generally bad. And you can see that the system managed to find a nice blue spot in the midst of all that red, all that death that’s out there for us. So we found a parking lot and hit it. The terrain relative navigation system was absolutely essential in getting us down here and helping us figure out where we are right away.

Al Chen: (27:32)
We are in a nice flat spot. The vehicle is only tilted by about 1.2 degrees. So we did successfully find that parking lot and have a safe rover on the ground. And I couldn’t be more proud of my team for doing that. And that’s really all I got to say.

Al Chen: (27:49)
I think this is the end of my journey, I guess, with Perseverance, but the adventure really, the mission, is really just beginning. So let me toss it over to Jennifer to talk about the surface work that we have ahead of us.

Jennifer Trosper: (28:02)
Thanks, Al. Well, thank you Al. You and your team did a fantastic job and we’re so grateful to be in this position. I almost feel like I’m in a dream. Our job is to think of all the bad things that can happen and try to avoid those. And when all good things happen, you feel like you’re dreaming and I’m happy to feel like I’m dreaming today and happy to be here.

Jennifer Trosper: (28:23)
First, I want to do the most important thing, which is introduce you to another portion of the team, some of these folks work downstairs for landing, and some of them are up here just doing surface operations. And so the team wants to share their excitement with you about being on the surface of Mars, getting ready for an amazing science mission. So thank you team. This team is awaiting the Odyssey overflight. Yeah. Let’s give him a hand. Thank you folks.

Jennifer Trosper: (28:55)
This team is awaiting the Odyssey overflight, which will happen about 4: 00, 4:30 PM. It’s a very small data volume, so we won’t get very much information. But then at 6:30 PM, trace gas orbiter will have an overflight and send down a fair amount of data. And that’s, I think, what everybody’s looking forward to are these images that Mike talked about.

Jennifer Trosper: (29:17)
The images we might get in, if everything goes well, we will likely get the hazcams with the deployed covers. What you were looking at before was the hazcams without the covers deployed. We hope that we will get some thumbnail movies of some of the EDL camera images, so that front row seat in entry, descent and landing. And then it’s possible that we’ll get an actual image from the descent download camera the last 10 meters before we landed on the surface. So we’re all on the edge of our seats, looking forward to getting those images.

Jennifer Trosper: (29:48)
Just a few other stats about the rover. We think we’re facing Southeast based on the shadows, about 140 degrees. The tilt, as Al said, it’s flat. It’s about 1.2 degrees. The power system looks good. The RTG, the generator, before we landed was at 105 Watts and we think it’ll go a little higher. The batteries are charged at 95% and everything looks great. So we are excited to get the next set of information from Perseverance.

Jennifer Trosper: (30:18)
Now the team will get some images tonight, but then over the next few days we spend a little bit of time, I’ll show you with the model here, unwrapping the rover. It’s been inside the descent stage, the back shell. The mast is not deployed, so we will deploy the remote sensing mast here, and then we’ll also be pointing, you can see here, the high- gain antenna at earth, and that’s how we will communicate. Right now, the rover is sending data through the orbiters on an antenna, a UHF antenna, that’s sitting here on the back of the rover. And we can command it, but only through an omnidirectional low- gain antenna here. So we don’t get very high data rates through that.

Jennifer Trosper: (30:55)
So we’re excited to be opening up the rover over the next few days. After that, we will transition the software. As John mentioned, we were finishing… Many of these people have been working on this mission for years, and we were finishing the surface flight software as we were flying to Mars. It’s on the vehicle, but we will spend a little bit of time transitioning to that software. Then we will finish the checkouts of all the instruments and we’ll drive to our heli flight demo location, wherever that might be.

Jennifer Trosper: (31:24)
I spent a little time talking to the rover planners, the folks who decide where to traverse and what’s safe and what’s not, and there’s a ripple field in front of us, between us and the delta, so we might be doing some driving around the ripple field. We don’t like sand ripples that much, but we’re going to spend some time and figure out what the traverse places are and where the helicopter demo flight should be. So that’s what we’re working on.

Jennifer Trosper: (31:49)
In summary, I would like to say, as I step back, it’s great to be able to share this success. I’m so happy for the team who has worked so hard. This is an incredible team, and they have just pushed through so many challenges. But we’re also very excited to be able to share this success with everybody who is cheering for us, everybody who is watching. We really are excited for you to join us on this great mission on Mars that we’re going to go through in the next several years, learning more about Mars.

Jennifer Trosper: (32:22)
And with that, I’m going to hand it over to Ken Farley. He’ll talk more about the science mission on Mars.

Ken Farley: (32:28)
Thanks, Jennifer. I would follow on what Steve Jurczyk said. 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 may be not obvious from the outside, but a mission like this is a lot like a decade long relay race. There was the whole first stage where the whole spacecraft was designed and built and literally, as the pandemic was closing in, was raced off to the Cape to make the launch. The second leg was to get through space and arrive successfully as we have just done. And the third leg is the one that we are about to embark on, that’s the science mission.

Ken Farley: (33:09)
One of the amazing things about this is there are thousands of people all along the way, and at each step, those people peel off and move on to new jobs. And so on behalf of the science team, I want to thank my friends to the right here and all of the folks that got us to where we are. This is a spectacular place to be. So thank you all so much for that. And we are going to do you proud in the science mission.

Ken Farley: (33:33)
I want to start off just saying a few words about where we are and what we know so far. This is obviously not based on very much information. And my phone is buzzing all the time with people telling me things. So we’re already starting to process the information that we have, but in this first image, you can see that we landed to the Southeast of the delta. We are about two kilometers to the Southeast of the delta. And we are actually right on the boundary between two different geologic units. There’s the kind of smooth area that we landed on, we call that the mafic floor unit, and then there’s the rough area, this is actually where the dunes are, and that’s the olivine-bearing unit. This is a great place to be because one of the things that scientists love to do is look to see how two different geologic units come together. It tells you a lot about the geologic history.

Ken Farley: (34:21)
We’re really excited to get going on this. And if I could have the next image. So these images, I hope everybody understands, these are actually taken in only one of the color bands. This is just in the red color band and they are actually taken through the protective lens cap that is on the camera. So these are just amazing things that we got back in the first few seconds after we landed, but we can already see some important things. There are rocks in this field of view. We don’t know exactly how big they are, but they might be about 10 centimeters would be a reasonable guess. Those are going to be very interesting. They will undoubtedly be some of the first objects that we explore once the shakedown phase of the early rover operation is complete.

Ken Farley: (35:13)
And also in the background, we believe that we can see the delta. There are features in the back that look like the cliffs of the delta. And so when we get those additional images back that Jennifer was mentioning, we should know a lot more about that. And then we can also see some sand dunes in there and actually, something of a relief, our imaging scientist told me when I went and talked to him about this image, I asked him what he saw and he said, “It looks like Mars.” So I’m glad we have successfully landed on Mars.

Ken Farley: (35:41)
So science team is really excited to get going here. We have years of scientific investigation ahead of us. I will turn it back to Jia-Rui for questions.

Jia-Rui Cook: (35:51)
Okay. Thank you, Ken. We’re about to start Q&A, so if you’re a reporter on our phone lines, remember that you can press star one and get into the queue. And if you’re on social media and you want to ask questions, use the hashtag…

Jia-Rui Cook: (36:02)
And if you’re on social media and you want to ask questions, use the hashtag #CountdownToMars. So our first reporter question comes from Steve Futterman of CBS News. Go ahead, Steve.

Steve Futterman: (36:11)
And congratulations to everyone involved in this. I’d like to focus my question to Matt Wallace and Al Chin. Obviously, we see you through the lenses of the cameras as this is happening. Could you take a step back and maybe describe for us what was going through your mind, your hearts? What were the emotions as the seven minutes of terror were taking place? And the reaction when you knew that Perseverance had safely touched down on Mars?

Matt Wallace: (36:42)
It’s hard to really describe, to be honest with you. You think you’re prepared for it. It’s part of our business, in some ways, we’re exploring, we’re going places we haven’t been. We know there’s risk, we know there’s uncertainty. I was telling somebody the other day, I don’t think a single work day went by for the last eight or nine years, where I didn’t think about entry, descent and 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 on Perseverance, but it just, it consumes you, it becomes part of you. And in some ways, it’s hard still to believe that we finished it and that we’re done. It still feels a little surreal because it just becomes embedded in the way you think.

Matt Wallace: (37:43)
You have to be constantly terrified of it, you have to respect it. At the same time, you have to somehow believe that you can do it, or else you’d never try to put a car on the surface of Mars, right? It’s crazy. And so, it’s part of what we do, I guess, and at some point it becomes part of how you think. But there really is no good way to describe that moment when it’s over, and you hear those words, “Touchdown confirmed.” It’s just a remarkable feeling of pride in the team, relief and really joy thinking forward to this remarkable service mission that we have coming up. That’s the best I can do. Let me turn it over to Al.

Al Chen: (38:36)
I mean, those seven minutes are still pretty raw for me right now, but yeah it’s, the vehicles going on a rollercoaster ride and you are too, right. The little pieces of data come back, things seem to be working the way you want them to go. You start feeling good and then something comes by that doesn’t quite match what you thought it was going to be. Is that really right? Should I have expected that? Or something comes out of order and your stomach drops and then okay, the things are okay again. And then, you pick up that next piece of information that says things are actually going okay. It’s an emotional rollercoaster ride all the way down that way and you’re second guessing yourself as you go, even though it’s already happened. It’s kind of crazy. And yeah, I mean, it’s a feeling of being very fortunate at the end, I think for me. That I get to work at a place with people who are both great engineers and great people and we still get to dare mighty things together.

Steve Futterman: (39:36)
Thank you.

Jia-Rui Cook: (39:37)
Great, thank you. Okay, our next caller is Marcia Dunn of the AP. Go ahead, Marcia.

Marcia Dunn: (39:43)
Yes, hi, congratulations. For Al, all those blue dots surround, I’m sorry, all 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? Thank you.

Al Chen: (39:59)
We’ll have to take a closer look at exactly what we had there. I will tell you that in general, we make these maps a little scarier because we want to make sure that we find the safest spots. In fact, these maps are typically saturated, what we consider a 4% hazard so that if you came down there … I mean, some of these places are definitely problems, and there’s individual rocks that are marked there. So we’re going to have to take a closer look to see how close we came, but we definitely, the system did what it was supposed to do. It and found the safest area that was available to it and went there.

Jia-Rui Cook: (40:32)
Great, okay, thank you. Next call is from Paul Brinkmann of UPI.

Paul Brinkmann: (40:39)
Hello, yes, 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 Perseverance’s planned route based on those images and about how much imagery do you think you’re going to get? I mean, in terms of the number of images or video and how much better will those be than what you have from the orbiters? I don’t know if that would be for Laurie or for Jennifer.

Jia-Rui Cook: (41:13)
Go ahead Laurie, or no, you’re pointing at Jennifer.

Ken Farley: (41:15)
I think Jennifer will be the one.

Jia-Rui Cook: (41:16)
Okay, go ahead, Jennifer.

Jennifer Trosper: (41:18)
Well, why don’t I, I can talk a little bit about the images. We think over the next few days, we’ll get all of the entry, descent and landing movies down, so that we can see basically that front row seat of what happened, all the different cameras and we’ll get those movies. I think as far as the where we might go once we see those, I can probably toss that over to Ken and see what he says about that.

Ken Farley: (41:44)
Yeah. I expect that what we will do, is we will explore that contact that I mentioned between the [inaudible 00:41:49] floor unit and the [olivine 00:41:52] unit. And as Jennifer mentioned, that’s a dune field and we might have to go around the dune field, but I suspect we will go around it either one direction or the other towards the delta.

Jia-Rui Cook: (42:04)
Great. Okay, thank you. We’ll take our next reporter question from Sam Ahmed of AFP. Go ahead, Sam.

Sam Ahmed: (42:13)
Hi, thanks for taking my question. Congratulations. We understand we had two mics on board, when might we know if Perseverance was successful in recording the first direct sound from Mars?

Jia-Rui Cook: (42:27)
Jennifer, you want to take that one?

Jennifer Trosper: (42:30)
We should be able to get some of that information in the overnight passes tonight and tomorrow morning. So, hopefully we’ll be able to understand whether we got the sounds and what those sounded like.

Sam Ahmed: (42:43)

Jia-Rui Cook: (42:44)
Great. Okay, thank you. Next reporter is Kate Tobin from PBS News Hour.

Kate Tobin: (42:52)
Yes, can you hear me?

Jia-Rui Cook: (42:54)
Yes, we can.

Kate Tobin: (42:56)
Wonderful. Congratulations to the team. Great, great job. And my question follows on the last two, about the imagery from the cameras that you have put on to the descent vehicle and on the rover itself. Can you talk a little bit, you say they’re going to come down starting tonight and overnight, is that all of them? I know there were some GoPro type sort of rugged sports cameras that you had pointed in all different directions and some high-speed video that you were taking. Do you expect it all to come down in the next few hours, or is that something that’s going to trickle in over days? And when do you expect to release it?

Jia-Rui Cook: (43:40)
So let’s let Matt take this one. Go ahead, Matt.

Matt Wallace: (43:43)
Yeah, I can give you a kind of an overview there. And you’re correct. Yes, as I think Thomas mentioned, or others had mentioned. For the first time, we’re going to be able to see ourselves in high definition video, land on another planet. We put commercial ruggedized cameras at various locations on the vehicle. Three of them looking up at that big supersonic parachute, one on the descent stage looking down at the rover, one on the rover that looks up at the descent stage, and then, we have one at the rover looking down as well. And so, we think we’re going to capture some pretty spectacular … we think we have captured hopefully, some pretty spectacular video and they come with microphone as well. And so, I think that’s what you’re asking about.

Matt Wallace: (44:27)
We are in fact hoping, that we can bring one image, one still image from those cameras to the table tomorrow from the descent stage, looking down at the rover. And I think that’s going to, hopefully we’ll see that. And then, I’m hoping that, that’s going to be remarkable image. But the first video product we’re going to work on over the weekend, as the imagery comes down. And we’re going to try to bring that to a press conference on Monday. And I think that’s really going to be something to see. Yeah, it’s going to be remarkable, I’m looking forward to it myself.

Kate Tobin: (45:07)
Thank you.

Jia-Rui Cook: (45:08)
Thank you. Okay, our next reporter is Stephen Clark from Space Flight Now. Go ahead, Stephen.

Stephen Clark: (45:15)
Hi, thank you for taking my question. Just wondering if maybe Jennifer Trosper can go through the timeline over the next couple of days, in some more detail about when the lens covers are going to be opened. When the high gain antenna will have lock on earth and when the mast will be deployed and when the first drive might be. Just walk me through that for me, please. And maybe for Dr. [Zubucken 00:54:03] or Dr. Glaze, the Mars sample return campaign was really hindering on the outcome of today. Just wanted to get your comments on any relief that you felt that your whole Mars sample return strategy is reality now after today’s outcome. Thanks.

Jennifer Trosper: (46:03)
Yeah, I’ll start with what we’re doing over the next several sols. This is sol zero, so right after the rover landed, it actually fired some pyros and did release our high gain antenna and also release those lens covers, which is why the images that we expect to see this evening will be without the lens covers and those will be the haz cam images, along with the other images we talked about. The first four or five sols, what we’re trying to do is get the power, the thermal and the communications, the infrastructure of the rover stabilized, so that then we can go and load the software as I mentioned.

Jennifer Trosper: (46:36)
So the first thing we’ll do tomorrow, we actually gyrocompass today as well to see if we can understand our orientation, such that tomorrow on sol one, we can point the high gain antenna at earth, and then if we get good pointing, then we’ll start commanding the vehicle through that antenna. And that’s one of the key things we’re trying to do in these early days, is get that communication link working. We’ll also release the remote sensing mast, and then on sol two, we’ll deploy that mast. Now, while we’re doing these things, which I call our critical path infrastructure things, we’re also doing other health checks of other instruments. And over the course of the three sols or four sols of these early activities. We’ll get all the instrument health checks done, we’ll charge the rover battery.

Jennifer Trosper: (47:19)
On that sol two, once we deploy the mast, that’s when we’ll take those initial images with our double E cams, their camera, they’re color this time, in the past they’ve been black and white. We’ll take those first panoramas and then the mast cam Z, which is also on the mast, we’ll take those panoramas on sol three. And then, those we’ll be sending that data down, along with additional data from the EDL cameras and the other data that we talked about over this week. It’ll take us till about sol four. In sol four we actually start to load and burn into the RCEs, so our flight computers, the new software. And once we start to do that, we do about four days of transitioning to the new software.

Jennifer Trosper: (47:58)
We do it very carefully. We [tow dip 00:48:01], we make sure that nothing goes wrong. And at the end of that, is when we start the next set of checkouts, where we’ll deploy the arm, we’ll do our first drive about five meters forward and back. And then, once we get that checked out, is when we’ll start to drive towards a heli site, we’ll have figured out where we want to fly the heli. We have certain requirements of that site in terms of rock sizes and flatness. And so, we’re looking for that right now. That ends up being a few weeks before we get there, but we’re excited about it all.

Thomas Zurbuchen: (48:34)
Wonderful. I want to quickly talk about your second question, Stephen. And that is, of course, there’s a lot of friends all over the world who had a sigh of relief when everything went well with this touchdown. The Mars sample return colleagues, they’re all working really hard to retire the risks of these new technologies and to bring together two of the most amazing missions to now bring the samples back. That’s a work that has started years ago, technology development and the system development here at JPL at the European Space Agency and elsewhere, there’s two principles we used to set the timing.

Thomas Zurbuchen: (49:14)
The first one is, we always bet on success. In our business, even if you sweat through shirt or not, like I learned about John, we bet on success because that’s what we want to achieve. That’s what we’re planning for. The second one is to go right now and develop the Mars sample return campaign, not only makes the search mission more effective in that regard, but also it actually saves a lot of money because we actually can use the systems that we have now, move towards that return. And so, for that reason, I think there’s a lot of people being excited right now, all over the world. But Laurie, anything you wanted to add that I may have overlooked in this?

Lori Glaze: (49:57)
I think you’ve covered that really well. The only thing I would say is that, I mean, it’s always nerve wracking to, as we go through the EDL for a lander or a rover, but it was doubly so this time. Because as you say, the Mars sample return was also pretty … is reliant on the success of Perseverance. So yeah, we all definitely, heaved a sigh of relief in thinking forward on all the work that’s to go for Mars sample return, but really, really exciting that we’ve now really embarked on that chapter one of Mars sample return. In for real, so it’s great.

Jia-Rui Cook: (50:35)
Okay. Thank you, Laurie. Okay, we’re going to do a social media question. This might also actually be for Lauri. [Polstodo 00:54:03] on Instagram asks, “If Perseverance finds signs of past or present life, what would we do next?”

Lori Glaze: (50:49)
Oh, wow, that’s a great, great question, because there’s still just so much to do on Mars. It’s a fascinating, fascinating place and it’s a wonderful laboratory for doing incredible science. And certainly the big question for us right now, is this question about the evolution of Mars and the existence or not of past life that’s been preserved at Jezero Crater and that’s our focus right now. But we’re always looking forward to the additional science that we’re going to do in the future. Thinking about, again, how planets form, how they evolve and Mars is a great, great place to work on all of those different science questions.

Jia-Rui Cook: (51:31)
Great, thank you. Okay. We’re going to go back to the reporter phone lines and we have Mike Wall of space.com.

Mike Wall: (51:40)
Thank you all. And yeah, congratulations it was a really great day for all of us watching too. Just to kind of piggyback off of Stephen Clark’s question about what the near future holds, could you maybe Jennifer or John or Ken, do you go out like another couple of weeks or a month or so. I mean, how long do you anticipate it’ll take to get to the helicopter site and how long will those flights take? And I mean, when will the rover be able to actually start doing science and start getting samples and so on and so forth, do you think? Thank you.

Jennifer Trosper: (52:15)
Sure, I’ll go a little further out. I talked about we’ll have the … Once we get the robotic arm working and we get mobility working, we’ll go find the heli flight demo site, so it’s about three weeks. And then, depending on how close that site is, we have to traverse to it and we still have the helicopter underneath the rover. So we can’t use our auto navigation, we have to be a little bit more careful when we’re doing that. So, it could take up to 10 sol, it really depends on where we find the heli flight demo site. Then, we will spend 30 sols, a sol is a martian day, it’s 40-minutes longer than an earth day. So we speak in sols when we’re doing operations on Mars. So we spend about 30 sols for the helicopter demo. Prior to that, it’ll take us about 10 sols to get the helicopter just deployed underneath the rover, move the Rover away. We go about 100 meters away before we fly it. So, that’s another 40 sols.

Jennifer Trosper: (53:05)
So I like to say, it’s sometimes hard to … it’s always hard to estimate exactly when things happen, but we’ll be flying the helicopter in the spring here, and we’ll be spending spring flying the helicopter. After that, we’re going to upgrade our auto navigation capability on the rover, meaning we’re just going to try it out, make sure it works. Then we’ll drive towards the first science site that Ken and his team are interested in going to. Again, that depends on where they want to go, how long it takes us to get there. And that’s the point where we will be doing the first sampling. So I like to say summer, is the timeframe when we’ll be doing the first sampling. Those things can change, they might go faster or if we have to drive/traverse to different places that take a longer period of time, it might go slower. That’s a longer plan.

Jennifer Trosper: (53:49)
And then, one thing I’ll just throw in the end. Conjunction is around September, where we’re not able to communicate with the spacecraft because the sun is between earth and Mars. And so, during that time, we’ll spend a little bit of work finishing off some-

Jennifer Trosper: (54:02)
We’ll spend a little bit of work, finishing off some efficiency and operability capabilities for the vehicle to help it be even smarter and even more autonomous. And then after conjunction, we’ll upload that new flight software build and then that’s when we can really do things even faster than we had originally planned.

Jia-Rui Cook: (54:20)
Ken, do you want to talk a little bit about the science part?

Ken Farley: (54:23)
Yeah. It’s a little premature to say very much yet. I mentioned in a previous discussion that there are 450 science team members and I think most of them are sending me texts and emails about what we should do now, but we’ve got to get together and actually come up with a communal plan. We’re not ready to do that just yet.

Jia-Rui Cook: (54:43)
Okay, great. Thank you. Okay. The next reporter question comes from Jacqui Goddard of The Times of London.

Jacqui Goddard: (54:50)
Hello and congratulations, everyone, and that includes all the folks on those screens at your kitchen tables and on your counters with your dogs and your cats and your kids. My question is can one of you on the panel, please give us some examples of the complexity of the challenges that you’ve faced getting this mission to Mars under pandemic conditions and to what extent will COVID continue to affect operations? For example, will the rover operations also be at kitchen tables and sofas and pets on laps or does that now change? Thank you.

Matt Wallace: (55:25)
Yeah, I can start us off and say a few words. I’ll let Jennifer say a bit about looking out into the future of the surface mission. The pandemic struck had just about the worst time for this mission. We had just shipped the vehicle down to Kennedy Space Center. It was in pieces. We still had to put it together. It’s a critical point in time for us. You can’t make mistakes. There’s no safety net, at that point. There’s no double checks. You have to do it right. We were still finishing some of the flight hardware back here at JPL. We had very little schedule margin. The teams were already working multiple shifts and I had already scheduled out the weekends and we had to react very quickly and normally, you’re just focused on trying to do the job, do it right, and get it done in time to make the planetary launch window because if you miss it, you’re going to have to wait two years.

Matt Wallace: (56:27)
And suddenly, we had to start thinking primarily 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 and how close could they be inside a clean room, what protection we got from our clean room garb. We were just struggling to understand if all of our support community, the companies that just clean the garments for our clean room or bring the nitrogen in for our thermal vacuum chambers, whether or not they were going to be there and continue to deliver the things that we needed to keep going.

Matt Wallace: (57:19)
We had people here at JPL that had to travel to Kennedy Space Center and we couldn’t travel commercially and so we had to ask for some help from NASA Headquarters. Our friends at Armstrong gave us a jet to fly, helped us with transporting the agency jet back and forth. We got support out of Wallops, another NASA facility, to fly some of our flight hardware there and back. So it was a very, very challenging time. And then we had to figure out how to actually launch the thing and fly it when we had all these constraints as well. We were modifying our processes and protocols in our operations facility, just very, very challenging. In the team, I think that the team, like all of you out there, they were worried, worried about their parents or grandparents and just worried about their kids out of school, worried about taking care of kids at home and doing their work, so it was a tough time.

Matt Wallace: (58:32)
We actually decided to try to mark it. We put a plate, a COVID plate, on the port side of the rover. It’s now sitting on Jezero crater with the vehicle and you can see the video there of us installing that plate down at Kennedy Space Center. And that plate is really there to symbolize the challenge that not just our team was facing, but everybody has been facing. It’s been a tough year. It’s been tough to do this mission in this environment, but the team, like they have with every other challenge, has stepped up to it. We got a lot of help from the institution, from the agency and I think that’s going to continue into the future so that we can do this surface mission. Jennifer, do you want to add anything?

Jennifer Trosper: (59:28)
Well, I’ll add that we are not all together and that’s very unusual for a landing and when we start a surface operations. Ken’s talking about his phone blowing up. Usually that would be a big meeting that’s in one of the buildings here on the laboratory, where we all talk about what the science of the mission is and based on where we are, what we want to do. The engineering team is largely on site right now. And to finish development was a struggle being remote because 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 of that remotely without as much interaction has been hard for the team. The science team now is fully remote and it’s just like all of you guys.

Jennifer Trosper: (01:00:21)
I mean, I work from my laundry room for the last several months, right? And my kids are in Zoom school and they’ll walk in and then people say they can’t hear me because the washer’s going. I mean, everybody has these challenges that are going on because this is not the way we typically would design a Mars mission. But the team has been fantastic and just overcome every challenge. We actually have now robots on the floor where if you’re remote, but you want to go look in a room, you can log into one of the robots and you can drive it around the floor now in surface operations and go talk to the people that you want. 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.

Jennifer Trosper: (01:01:04)
And I look forward to the time, I think there will be a time, when we can all be together again and not have all the restrictions. I’m in a room by myself, which is the only reason I’m not wearing a mask. And I think that that does make it… One of the things that the team missed out on a little bit was just that excitement and energy that comes from being altogether right before landing and so we were together, but it was remotely. And so I think it’ll be fun and great for the team to be able to get back together again when we can do that.

Jia-Rui Cook: (01:01:35)
Okay. Thanks, Jennifer. Next call comes from Amina Khan of the LA times.

Amina Khan: (01:01:40)
Hi, thank you so much for taking my call. Can you hear me?

Jennifer Trosper: (01:01:45)

Amina Khan: (01:01:47)
Okay, great. So I had a couple of questions here. Congratulations. To jump off of that last question. I’m sort of wondering if all these pandemic restrictions will be affecting how you guys deal with Mars time? Will that be affecting the Mars time experience? And also, will be affecting the experience of the rover drivers? How will that be changing because of the pandemic?

Jennifer Trosper: (01:02:15)
Yeah. Well, the Mars time question is great. So Mars time, as you obviously know, you’ve asked the question, is we get up in the morning on Mars and then our clocks shift by 40 minutes every day. So when you’re all here and you’re together, that works, but when you’re sitting in your living room or in a small room in your house, if you need to be on a telecon all night long planning the rover sequences for the next day, that may not work out for your spouse or your family or those things, so we’ve had to change. In some cases, we’ve actually had to create remote, but onsite, places for people to come to. We don’t want to gather too many people together. We need to have our socially distant facilities, but we have several. I would say we have a couple dozen people who are remote, but still coming to the lab to different areas during Mars time so that they can not interfere with their family’s life, which is not on Mars time.

Jennifer Trosper: (01:03:16)
And then as far as our rover planners, they’re going to get busy. They already have some meshes where they’re trying to come up with strategic traverses with the images we have, but I think it’s the same for them. They have some unique equipment they need to use. So again, we’ve set up some different locations where they can come in and use that equipment. It doesn’t have to all be, we have some over in this building, and then we’ve set some up in another building, so rover planners who can’t be at home on Mars time can come in. So it is different and it’s different for the families and we’ll see how it works. We do have probably about 50 people in here that when they work Mars time, they’re actually at the facility and on console as you see behind me.

Jia-Rui Cook: (01:04:03)
Great. Okay thanks, Jennifer. Okay, the next call comes from Leo Enright of Irish TV.

Steve Futterman: (01:04:10)
Thanks very much, [inaudible 01:04:12]. And as we say in the Irish language, comhghairdias go leor to everybody involved, particularly the people on the Zoom screen. Many congratulations. I had a very detailed geology question ready for Ken Farley, but Jennifer Trosper mentioned a robot that they’re using to communicate. I wasn’t quite clear about that, so I thought I would ask about that a bit more. You said you had a robot that can move and talk to people?

Jennifer Trosper: (01:04:54)
Let me… Yeah, I’ll clarify. It’s a robot that you can log into and essentially drive it around and your face will be there and you can zoom up, or you can drive up next to somebody that you want to talk to, closer than six feet. And then you can have a conversation with them from your…

Steve Futterman: (01:05:09)
I mean, is it a rover or what is it?

Jennifer Trosper: (01:05:20)
No, it’s just a robot that moves around the… I can’t remember the actual maker, maybe somebody can help me out with that, but it’s a robot that we drive remotely around the floor. It really just has wheels and then a screen. It’s a moving computer screen. Maybe that’s a better way to describe it.

Steve Futterman: (01:05:40)
Could I do a follow up?

Jennifer Trosper: (01:05:42)
Sure, we can do that. Yeah, sure.

Steve Futterman: (01:05:45)
Okay, thanks, because I did have a question for Ken Farley. Ken, this zoom is fantastic because we’re all used to the crowd coming in JPL after a landing and the other tradition in JPL after a landing is the journalist with the geeky question. So I just wanted to ask you, could you clarify, have you landed at Canyon de Chelly? And if that is where you have landed, can you tell me whether you’ve looked at Channel Islands and the outcrop 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 over to the delta?

Ken Farley: (01:06:44)
Yeah. Okay. So let’s clarify what’s going on here. So the science team has associated specific earth locations that happen to be national parks and preserves to specific regions in Jezero crater. And it is from those quadrangles, we call them, those quadrangles on earth that we will draw the names that we informally attach to features that we look at and we take observations of. So we have, in fact, landed in the Canyon de Chelly quad and I’m not sure exactly where the feature that you were referring to is. I still think that our most likely ultimate destination is going to be to the West/Northwest, and that we will very likely go up to the delta front, that on the image you see right now is in the upper left-hand corner.

Jia-Rui Cook: (01:07:40)
Okay. We’re going to end on a social media question. So Vince on YouTube asks, “Was the landing today the best one so far?” I’ll ask Matt that question first.

Matt Wallace: (01:07:52)
Yes. Yes, 100%. It was the best one. This is my fifth Mars rover. Jennifer and a handful of other others of us on the project have worked a number of these. They’re 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.

Jia-Rui Cook: (01:08:20)
All right, great. Thank you. That’s all the time that we have for questions today. If you’re a member of the media and you still have a question, you can contact the JPL Digital News and Media office. We’ll continue to answer some questions on social media and tune in to NASA TV and online tomorrow. We’ll have another news briefing at 10:00 AM Pacific time, and we’ll give you an update about the start of the surface mission. If you want some more updates, you can also go online to nasa.gov/perseverance and mars.nasa.gov/perseverance for additional information. You can also follow us on social media @NASAPersevere. Now, one last thing before we go, I just wanted to say that if you wanted to welcome our latest robotic explorer to Mars, Mars will be visible in the night sky tonight. It’ll be right next to the moon, so have a look. Thank you very much for joining us and go Perseverance.

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