NASA’s latest rover has made it to the floor of Mars. After a journey of practically seven months, the Perseverance rover landed on the Purple Planet on 18 February.
The success of the touchdown was certainly not a foregone conclusion – of all of the missions ever despatched to the Mars’s floor, solely about 40 per cent have landed safely. Perseverance is the biggest rover ever despatched to Mars, which made the touchdown much more troublesome. Its arrival at Jezero crater was heralded by cheers and audible aid in NASA’s mission management room in California.
The spacecraft used a warmth protect after which a parachute to decelerate from about 20,000 kilometres per hour to lower than 4 kilometres per hour, and was then lowered fastidiously to the floor by a sky crane much like the one which was used within the Curiosity rover touchdown in 2012.
The principle distinction from the Curiosity landing was a brand new navigation system that took photographs of the touchdown space and in contrast them to maps to pick a secure spot to the touch down. “That is lastly like touchdown along with your eyes open,” mentioned Perseverance group member Swati Mohan in the course of the on-line NASA livestream of the touchdown.
Subsequent, engineers will run well being checks on the rover and its devices earlier than starting to discover the planet’s floor. The rover has two important targets: to choose up and stash samples of Mars mud and rocks that will probably be returned to Earth by a deliberate 2026 mission, and to seek for indicators of ancient life.
“Primarily based on all the pieces we find out about Mars previously, it completely ought to have been able to supporting historical life,” mentioned Katie Stack Morgan, additionally a Perseverance group member, in the course of the livestream. “Learning the doable emergence of life on historical Mars may assist us higher perceive the situations that led to life on our personal planet.” The seek for historical life on Mars begins now.
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