Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:


Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Watching Perseverance’s landing on Mars

Because it will take eleven minutes for radio communications from Mars to reach Earth, no one on Earth will have any direct contact with the American rover Perseverance as comes in to land in Jezero Crater on Mars on February 18th. When NASA broadcasts the landing here on Earth it will already have happened.

Nonetheless, if you want see as soon as possible if the landing was successful, you can go to NASA public channel here at NASA or here at Youtube. I have also embedded the live stream telecast below the fold in this post.

The landing itself is set for about 3:55 pm (Eastern) on Thursday, February 18th. NASA’s coverage is scheduled to begin at 2:15 pm (Eastern). Expect almost everything you watch to be seeped in NASA propaganda, though of course their overview of the rover, its landing, and its landing site will be informative.

One important note: NASA has been selling the false notion that the primary goal of Perseverance is to search for life on Mars, and sadly much of the mainstream press has been repeating this notion blindly. It is simply not true. The rover’s primary goal, first, last, and always, is to gain more knowledge of the geology of Mars and its past history. If along the way the rover detects evidence of life, all for the better, but that is not what it will be focused on doing during its journey in Jezero Crater.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • Richard M

    NASA has been selling the false notion that the primary goal of Perseverance is to search for life on Mars, and sadly much of the mainstream press has been repeating this notion blindly. It is simply not true.

    Alas, “the search for life” sells. Specifically, when you’re trying to get funding. “Geology,” alas, doesn’t seem to cut it.

  • Richard M: You are right, but just because NASA is doing a sales job does not require the press to help participate in the fraud. Journalists should do their job and report what is really happening, not help a government agency lobby for money.

    Of course, the sad part is that most modern science reporters know so little about the subjects they report on that they are unable to see the difference. Worse, they don’t research the subject and find out. They simply rewrite press releases.

  • Steve Richter

    Would it increase mission results, if we were sending two rovers to work in tandem? Are there achievable ways for the rovers to have a power source other than their solar arrays? In terms of communicating would it help if the rover sent data to an orbiting satellite, which then relayed that data back to earth? Asking if this mission could have been more ambitious in what it is setting out to achieve.

  • Steve Richter: Both Curiosity and Perseverance do not depend on solar panels. They use a nuclear power source.

    Also, all the rovers use the orbiters to relay their data, and have for decades.

  • wayne

    Rover Curiosity: Landing sequence breakdown
    (side-by-side animation + Descent Imager video)
    SpaceRip 2012

  • wayne

    Rover Curiosity
    descent imagery + mission control audio

  • wayne

    (last one…)

    Rover Curiosity
    -smooth motion descent imagery interpolated to 30fps
    [but with fake sound fxs]

  • Watched the ‘Wayne’ links.

    Holy Schmoly! That’s great stuff! I always enjoy listening to people with half-a-dozen letters after their name cheer like sports fans, as if their team scored the winning touchdown. And, it did. This is perhaps the most technical way to deliver something to Mars, and we can make it work. Reliably. USA, baby.

    A lot of things happening on the pre- and post-parachute phase. IMO, the sound FX on the last video are OK. Not over the top, and how hard would it be to put microphones on the lander?

    Great stuff.

  • Lee Stevenson

    @Blair K Ivey
    Perseverance is carrying 2 microphones!! An enginering one, and a science one. The engineering mic will be turned on during the decent, so we will be able to hear the whole decent and landing. The science one is going to give us real sounds from Mars. ( These will be the first mics on mars.) Exciting times indeed!!

  • wayne

    a repeat from me, but check this out:

    “Riding the Booster: Up and Down in 400 Seconds”
    NASA 2012

    “….launch to landing, a space shuttle’s solid rocket booster journey is captured, with sound mixed and enhanced by Skywalker Sound.”

    (–> nice transition at max-q starts around the 1:10 mark)

  • Lee Stevenson

    @ wayne, Thanks for that! I’ve never seen that before, or was even aware such footage even existed! Absolutely stunning!

  • wayne

    ( I like to think my special superpower, is providing high quality video links)
    That NASA video is a composite of two separate launches, if you want a single launch, 4 views (with natural sound) see:

    “STS-134, SRB Cameras & Sound”
    (left & right + forward & aft views)
    Tanks In Space 2014

    Whoops— this just in; Rush is deceased

  • Cotour

    This title: “Watching Perseverance’s landing on Mars”.

    Does that mean that the landing on Mars will be actually seen from the surface as it lands by one of the other rovers on the planet now? (Or watching it from the lander itself landing?)

    Because that is what it sounds like and that would be something interesting to see IMO. I would think that that has never been recorded before and would be a first.

    I will assume that is not so because this rover will be landing at a different location then the other rovers are located.

  • mkent

    One important note: NASA has been selling the false notion that the primary goal of Perseverance is to search for life on Mars, and sadly much of the mainstream press has been repeating this notion blindly. It is simply not true.

    The rover’s primary mission is to search for geologic evidence of past life on Mars. From a recent Space News article:

    The instruments on Perseverance will look for biosignatures, like organic materials or structures left behind by past life. Ken Williford, deputy project scientist, used as one example stromatolites, sedimentary formations created by microbial life on the early Earth, showing off an example of one found in Australia.

    Between that, the helicopter, and the sample caching, it’s a pretty cool mission. Let’s all hope for its success.

  • Jhon B

    If anybody had a sense of humor, They would have a fake video ready to roll showing some aliens approaching the spacecraft shortly after landing. Cute ones so as not to scare people. Maybe a family, they can poke and prod the lander and such. If I was king, that is what I would do. War of the Worlds 2021!

  • I’ve posted a very funny animation doing exactly what you suggest, but can’t find it now. It was done after Curiosity’s landing.

  • Col Beausabre: Thank you. That’s it!

  • Col Beausabre

    The lander had touched down and is signallying

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *