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VIDEO: How Rover “Spirit” Got to Mars
This movie is an abridged version of the IMAX movie “Roving Mars” from 2006, which intermixes cgi graphics and real life NASA responses to the Rover’s trek from Earth to Mars. The Rover, named Spirit MER-A (Mars Exploration Rover – A), after a NASA sponsored student essay, was active 2004 to 2010, with its twin, Opportunity MER-B, landing on the opposite side of the planet.
The video depicts the rocket’s launch as it throws off its fueling canisters, then the launcher that got it out of the Earth’s atmosphere. Further unnecessary parts are dislodged until it is reduced to a bare capsule to land on Mars. Of course all the audio effects of the sounds the rocket made in space, including the whipping sound as it unscrews itself, are imaginative – there is no sound in space.
“We don’t fire a rocket loader all the way to Mars, we don’t need to. We just place the spacecraft on a trajectory to Mars and let it coast for seven months, and 300 million miles, till it reaches the planet.”
Then we are given an intermix between CGI dramatization of the capsule’s arrival, with NASA scientists, looking a lot like you’d expect them to look, all eagerly anticipating its landing and initial signal that the launch was a success.
After a pregnant pause in which nothing from the rover is heard, they burst out in cheers “We’ve got the signal!”
The video then shows the rover emerging from its balloon womb, in a scene somewhat evocative of the Xenomorph emerging from its egg in the movie Alien. NASA cheers as the first photographs are sent to Earth from Mars. The rover had a successful mission, remaining in operation much longer than the mission planned for, though ultimately it got caught in soft soil. After continuing its work from its stuck position, it finally lost signal in 2010.