B.C. company makes 'iconic' video of Mars touchdown possible
VANCOUVER -- Millions have viewed NASA's video of Perseverance making its entry into the Martian atmosphere and the rover touching down on the red planet amidst a cloud of dust.
NASA's said it's the first time it's ever been able to record such a landing on Mars.
And it wouldn't have been possible without a Richmond, B.C., company, which designed those compact cameras.
"It is great to be part of a historic moment and see history in making," said Sadiq Panjwani with FLIR Systems, Inc.
Panjwani said NASA approached the company more than five years because of their reputation of creating durable and reliable products.
But even though their cameras can withstand some of the toughest conditions on earth, it would be impossible to know if they would survive on another planet.
"We never had an opportunity to test these cameras in scenarios like no gravity and temperature near absolute zero, so we were thrilled to see NASA put them to the test," Panjwani said.
The mission is to bring back some core samples to help scientists identify signs of ancient life.
Tim Haltigin, a senior mission scientist in planetary exploration at the Canadian Space Agency, is part of the international team that designed how scientists will study the soil samples once they are brought back to earth.
He said the mission of collecting the samples is an important one, but the video of the landing is just as critical.
"To me, this video is as historic as the Apollo landing. To me, this is some of the most iconic video footage that's ever been filmed in space exploration. To think that it's Canadian cameras that took the footage is very exciting," Haltigin said.
Six of FLIR cameras were mounted on the rover but only four of them were used to record the landing.
Panjwani said it is up to NASA to decide what the other two will be used for and when.
Other Canadian companies have also contributed to the mission, including a Vancouver Island business that made the drill for the rover and a Manitoba company that provided cameras to help land the rover safely.