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NASA boffins have admitted they expect Thursday's landing on Mars to be "seven minutes of terror" – but have promised that if the mission is successful it will provide "a real feast" of new evidence about the Red Planet.
In fact, the $2.7billion (£2billion) Perseverance Rover's mission has been billed as a true "spectacular" that will go down in history as "the most camera-heavy mission of deep space exploration ever".
On Tuesday, a pre-landing press conference beamed live around the world saw NASA's top men and women update the public on plans for the landing, and then to go on to collect scientific data and new samples from the planet's surface.
Jim Bell, MastCamZ operator for NASA, has participated in all four of the missions to Mars so far and spoke at Tuesday night’s press conference.
He described Thursday’s landing as “seven minutes of terror” as his “fifth ride down these particular Class 5 rapids”.
Speaking over video chat from Arizona State University, he revealed just how much technology is onboard the rover, and how it will be used to fully examine the alien surroundings.
"This rover is loaded with engineering and science cameras galore – and microphones," he said.
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"This rover and this mission is going to be a feast for the eyes and ears. It’s really going to be spectacular.
"There are 23 cameras on the rover and its descent stage plus two more on the helicopter – that’s 25 cameras in total.
"It’s the most camera-heavy mission of deep space exploration ever sent out there, so it is very, very exciting."
Last month, it was revealed that the mission would let humanity hear the sounds of the red planet for the first time.
NASA's Perseverance rover to let mankind hear what Mars sounds like for first time ever
Matt Wallace, Mars 2020 deputy project manager, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), revealed: "We are carrying microphones to the surface of Mars so it'll be the first time we have been able to put that human sensory capability on the surface and see what we get.
"All of that is very exciting."
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