The “7 minutes of terror” refer to the fiery descent and landing that occurred on Mars in a faster time than radio signals were able to reach the Earth. So scientists monitoring the mission knew for 7 minutes that the landing had already been a success or failure–they just didn’t know which–during the time it took to transmit a message from planet to planet. TikTok user and NASA expert @thegalacticgal is kind enough to fill us in on the info and the can’t-miss photos in this video.


“Not only is this incredibly cool,” @thegalacticgal says, “but it also serves an engineering purpose. Engineers can analyze these pictures to make sure the systems they designed worked properly. Or, if they didn’t, they can design them better for future missions.” She also offers a bit of historical significance and context to the appearance of the photos. “One of these days, this will become a historic site just like the Apollo landing sites,” she suggests. We’ll be following these developments and reporting further as more information becomes available. Recommended for you

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