The video of the Perseverance landing showed the rover descending into a cloud of dust kicked up by the landing rockets. This is not surprising, but I always had the understanding that one of the reasons for the sky crane approach was to avoid precisely that. I realize there were other reasons. This Wikipedia entry gives a good overview, and this news article actually doesn't even mention the dust issue as a main reason.

So, I'm curious - was there more dust than expected? And was avoiding dust spray (say, avoiding even worse dust than they got) a significant engineering consideration?

  • $\begingroup$ Avoiding plume/surface interaction was a definite concern; a meteorological sensor on MSL was damaged by debris thrown up from the surface bbc.com/news/science-environment-19338870 $\endgroup$ Feb 28 '21 at 1:31
  • $\begingroup$ I think this is a question that can really only be answered by someone with access to information about what they expected unfortunately (that doesn't make it a bad question, although it may make it hard to answer). Certainly making the landing survivable was a significant consideration. $\endgroup$
    – user21103
    Feb 28 '21 at 11:16

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