NASA Perseverance rover: First images and sounds revealed
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The Mars rover touched down on the Red Planet last Thursday after a nail-biting “seven minutes of terror” – only the fifth time NASA has landed a rover on Mars. Even before the cheers of success died down in the mission control room, Perseverance was already beaming back the very first photos it took on the planet’s surface. The alien-hunting rover touched down in Jezero Crater, just north of the Martian equator, where scientists hope to find evidence of past life.
Brian Cox, the TV scientist and professor of particle physics at Manchester University, expressed his excitement over the historic mission on Twitter.
He tweeted last week after the landing: “WowW Just wonderful from @NASAPersevere!”
The chorus of congratulatory messages was also joined by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who said: “Congratulations to @NASA on the successful landing of the SUV-Sized Perseverance Rover on planet Mars.”
But not everyone shared in the jubilations as a minor community of sceptics and conspiracy theorists challenged the Mars landing.
Some social media users questioned the Mars rover’s £2.05billion ($2.9billion) price tag while others bizarrely claimed the landing was an elaborate hoax.
Others, including UFO hunter Scott C Waring, accused NASA of not being entirely upfront and honest about the mission.
Perseverance has already beamed back tens of thousands of pictures back to Earth, snapped during its descent and after landing.
Some of the initial photographs, however, are fuzzy and obscured by digital artefact – a common theme among the unprocessed, raw images.
Mr Waring took to his blog UFO Sightings Daily where he alleged NASA had deliberately blacked out the image.
The UFO hunter said: “Now NASA spent $2.7billion on the rover mission, so you know they have the best state of the art technology on it… meaning the cameras are the best Earth has to offer.
“Such a glitch as this would never happen with such technology.
“Even a simple iPhone 12 tied to the rover would offer more clear, higher detail, better contrast and better colour photos than the ones NASA is showing the public. So how can this even happen?”
In his opinion, the images were blacked out to hide an alien ship or structure that would have otherwise been exposed to the public.
Mr Waring is a staunch believer in extraterrestrial phenomena who interprets unremarkable events as UFO sightings on a daily basis.
In the past, he shared photos of what he claimed was an alien bottle on Mars.
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On another occasion, he told SpaceX chief Elon Musk to recover what he thought was an ET spacecraft that crashed on the Moon.
He now said: “An iPhone 1 would make photos 1.37MB in size, compared to the Perseverance Rover photos the public sees at 56KB to 250KB in size.
“That’s pathetic and not even worth the public looking at them.
“Now… ask yourself… what is NASA really hiding from us all? That… is the right question.”
But the Red Planet is simply too inhospitable to host any life as we know it.
And NASA’s rover was sent to Jezero to collect rock and soil samples that could reveal evidence of microbial life from about 4 billion years ago when Mars resembled a young Earth.
What about the black boxes in NASA’s rover photos? Most likely just missing data that has corrupted the image files.
Similar anomalies often appear in NASA’s photos of the Sun, which Mr Waring, unsurprisingly, has also called evidence of extraterrestrial life.
As far as scientists are concerned, Earth is the only planet where we know for sure life exists.
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