NASA’s Perseverance spacecraft is about to reach the red planet. Thus nail biting can begin.
After flying nearly 470 million kilometers through interplanetary space, NASA’s Perseverance rover is nearing completion. The promising vehicle is expected to set foot on February 18th. But to get to the surface of the Red Planet in one piece, it may be the most exciting challenge yet: the so-called “seven minutes of terror”.
Seven minutes of horror
Landing on a planet far from here is, as you can imagine, very difficult. There are only a few minutes between the time the spacecraft enters the thin atmosphere of Mars and lands on the red planet. And in those minutes, the spacecraft must be slowed dramatically to prevent it from crashing onto the surface of Mars. Although NASA has already stopped many rovers on Mars, it is still looking forward to “Seven Minutes of Terror” with fear and shiver.
Those involved talk about seven minutes of nerve-wracking terror.
Upon landing, the rover dives at 20,000 kilometers per hour through the thin atmosphere of Mars. The formidable parachute should slow the rover as much as possible so that it lands smoothly on the surface. The rover carries out each step independently (see cool animation below). It promises to be a huge challenge. “If there’s one thing we know, it’s that landing on Mars isn’t easy,” said NASA’s Mark Etkind. “But as NASA’s 5th Mars spacecraft, perseverance has exceptional technical and mission team proportions.”
Once on Mars, the rover will be there Important task Wait: Rover will search the rocks for traces of microbes that may have roamed the red planet in the gray past. Because where previous Mars rovers searched for evidence that Mars would have been habitable, they weren’t able to actually discover life that must change now. Perseverance is equipped with a series of new scientific tools that make it possible to find extraterrestrial life. So the rover is actually going to look for traces of past microbial life.
But a thief won’t just look for traces of life. NASA also wants to collect various samples from Mars during the mission. After the rover collects the core of the drill, it is analyzed on board, packed, and temporarily stored in the belly of the rover. When the time is right – and a suitable location is found – the carefully packed specimens will be placed on the surface of Mars so that they can be collected during future space flights and transported to Earth, where they can be examined more closely.
The field of action is called perseverance Crater Lake. This is an area 45 kilometers north of the Martian equator. Researchers believe that about 3.5 billion years ago, the Jezero Crater was filled with water carried by rivers to the crater. The “ arms ” of this delta can still be seen on the crater floor and were captured by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Scientists believe that rivers flowing in and out of the lake contain organic molecules, other potential markers of microbial life, or even microorganisms. Traces of this may be stored in river delta sediments or lake sediments. So the Jizero crater is one of the oldest and most scientifically spectacular landscapes that Mars has to offer.
Perseverance is the size of a small car and has a mass of 1025 kilograms. This means that the Tenacity is similar in size to Curiosity, but clearly stands out from its direct predecessor. For example, the rover is equipped with more powerful wheels. This can of course be traced back to the significant wear that Curiosity wheels have endured in recent years. Additionally, the rover has an entirely different system for sampling the Martian surface. The program on board for March 2020 is also different. This software makes March 2020 more independent than Curiosity. The rover is expected to be able to cover much greater distances without having to contact the ground control room in the meantime. A rover can also use its energy more efficiently thanks to this program.
All in all, it promises to be a great job. Because in addition to the goals mentioned above, there will also be a real one Marchicopter On the red planet. Experiments are also underway on a technology aimed at converting carbon dioxide – which is abundant in the Martian atmosphere – into oxygen. Perseverance is well equipped Various materials that your futuristic spacesuits will be made fromSo that scientists can practically find out which materials are most suitable for the red planet. This means that the task of perseverance will provide us with an enormous amount of knowledge; A first step towards colonizing Mars.
But we are not far away yet. For now, persistence is still racing through space and will soon be the third arrival – after the Arab Hope and Chinese Tianwen-1 probe – to Mars. So the nail biting can almost start … Are you curious about the exciting landing of perseverance? “We are delighted to invite the whole world to share this exciting event with us!” Etkind said. NASA offers the public many ways to participate and stay informed about the landing and mission highlights. Follow NASA on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, for example. Additionally, the persistence drop can also be tracked directly across NASA TV. The live broadcast starts on February 18th at 8:15 pm KST.
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