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NASA chief engineer celebrates Mars lander touch down while working from home

A NASA chief engineer broke down in tears as he excitedly celebrated the successful landing on Mars - while working from home.

Emotional video footage captures Miguel San Martin's euphoric reaction to the Perseverance rover touching down on the red planet last week.

Now head of Guidance and Control section at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, San Martin, 62, has worked on four previous Mars landings and was advising on his fifth from his daughters' old bedroom.

In the video, taken at his San Gabriel, Los Angeles home San Martin is seen watching his monitor intently as the confirmation of the landing comes through.

Emotional video footage captures NASA chief engineer Miguel San Martin's euphoric reaction to the Perseverance rover touching down on the red planet last week

His excitement matched his colleagues' at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory headquarters just down the road in Pasadena, Los Angeles

When he finally hears 'touchdown confirmed', he leaps out of his seat and throws his arms in the air, shouting: 'Yes!'

The significance of the incredible moment soon catches up with him, and he appear to break down in tears of joy. 

His wife Susan was on hand to capture the special moment, and even got a kiss from her husband as he filled with excitement.

The footage of his reaction has since gone viral.

His eldest daughter Samantha, 25, said the mission's success meant so much to her father as he had always dreamed of 'going to space' as a child.

The significance of the incredible moment soon catches up with him, and he appear to break down in tears of joy

His eldest daughter Samantha, 25, said the mission's success meant so much to her father as he had always dreamed of 'going to space' as a child

The video was filmed in Samantha and her sister Madeleine's childhood bedroom, which Miguel had converted into his office in order to work from home during the pandemic. Pictured: Miguel with daughters Samantha and Madeleine and wife Susan

'My father is incredibly passionate about what he does. Whilst he was an advisor on Mars 2020, the emotion is still very much there,' she said.

'My father dreamed about "going to space" as a child, and he is so appreciative of the opportunity he achieved through blood, sweat, and tears, moving from Argentina, etc, to achieve the goal he has always had for himself.  

'Also, as we’ve both seen, he’s an ugly crier but his reactions to mission accomplished are "Everything".'

The video was filmed in Samantha and her sister Madeleine's childhood bedroom, which Miguel had converted into his office in order to work from home during the pandemic.

'We all experienced a massive sense of pride and nostalgia,' added Samantha.

'My father dreamed about "going to space" as a child, and he is so appreciative of the opportunity he achieved through blood, sweat, and tears, moving from Argentina, etc, to achieve the goal he has always had for himself,' said Samantha

Born on his family's farm in Villa Regina, Argentina, he moved to the United States to pursue university and his dream of being part of space exploration. 

Early in his career, he worked on the Magellan mission to Venus and the Cassini mission to Saturn.

He was later named Chief Engineer for the Guidance, Navigation, and Control system for the Pathfinder mission, which landed Sojourner, the first robotic vehicle to land on Mars - the first of five successful missions to Mars. 

He oversaw the landings of Spirit and Opportunity on the red planet in 2004, and the one ton rover, Curiosity, on the surface in 2012.

Now working as an adviser, Perseverance is his fifth successful landing on Mars.

NASA MARS 2020: THE MISSION WILL SEE THE PERSEVERANCE ROVER AND INGENUITY HELICOPTER SEARH FOR LIFE

NASA's Mars 2020 mission will search for signs of ancient life on on the Red Planet in a bid to help scientists better understand how life evolved on Earth. 

Named Perseverance, the main car-sized rover will explore an ancient river delta within the Jezero Crater, which was once filled with a 1,600ft deep lake.

It is believed that the region hosted microbial life some 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago and the rover will examine soil samples to hunt for evidence of the life.

Nasa's Mars 2020 rover (artist's impression) will search for signs of ancient life on Mars in a bid to help scientists better understand how life evolved on our own planet

The $2.5 billion (£1.95 billion) Mars 2020 spaceship launched on July 30 with the rover and helicopter inside - and landed successfully on February 18, 2021.

Perseverance landed inside the crater and will collect samples that will eventually be returned to Earth for further analysis.

A second mission will fly to the planet and return the samples, perhaps by the later 2020s in partnership with the European Space Agency.

This concept art shows the Mars 2020 rover landing on the red planet via NASA's 'sky-crane' system

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