NASA’s Perseverance rover has landed safely on Mars. The spacecraft survived its journey by the Martian ambiance and made a tender landing at Jezero crater.
What occurred: Perseverance started its descent into the Martian ambiance Thursday afternoon, a course of affectionately referred to as the “seven minutes of terror.” The spacecraft survived scorching temperatures due to its warmth protect. Its parachute deployed and not using a hitch, the rover was capable of find and navigate towards a secure touchdown spot, and the descent equipment lowered the spacecraft all the way down to the floor. NASA confirmed a profitable landing at 3:55 p.m. US Japanese time. Throughout its descent, Perseverance went from touring at 12,000 miles per hour to simply 1.7 mph in seven minutes.
Due to the space between Earth and Mars, communication between NASA mission management and the spacecraft is delayed by 11 minutes. Meaning your entire touchdown course of needed to be completed autonomously. Onboard programs tracked the floor for hazards throughout descent and steered the rover away from any threats.
What’s it doing on Mars? Perseverance’s predecessors—Sojourner, Spirit, Alternative, and Curiosity—led to driving revelations of what Mars presently appears like and what it as soon as was. Scientists discovered that the planet was as soon as a heat planet teeming with lakes and rivers, and that it’s house to complicated natural matter. Collectively, these key components counsel Mars might have been liveable to microbial life within the historical previous.
Perseverance’s foremost objective is to search for proof of such historical life. The rover is armed with 23 cameras and a number of devices designed to search out and determine biosignatures (like amino acids or fatty acids) or different macroscopic proof in rock that signifies there was as soon as life on Mars. It would additionally drill into the Martian rock and acquire samples that shall be returned to Earth within the 2030s for nearer laboratory examine—which may very well be the first-ever pattern return mission from Mars.
The touchdown website, Jezero crater, is a former lake mattress with an historical delta the place waters could have as soon as deposited sediments that would protect fossilized supplies or different proof of life. Mission management will now spend a number of weeks testing and calibrating the devices earlier than the rover begins to discover Jezero in earnest this summer time.
Teeming with new tech: Perseverance will even run another very attention-grabbing science and tech demonstrations. A tool referred to as MOXIE will flip carbon dioxide into oxygen (and present whether or not we’d sooner or later be capable to use this expertise to maintain a Martian colony), and a small helicopter referred to as Ingenuity might show it’s doable to fly aerial missions on Mars and elsewhere within the photo voltaic system.
Perseverance can be fitted with two microphones that can present audio of the rover’s descent by the ambiance in addition to the sounds of the Martian panorama and wind on the floor in the course of the mission.
Busy occasions on the Crimson Planet: Perseverance launched final summer time as one in every of three new missions to Mars. The opposite two, the Hope orbiter despatched by the UAE and the Tianwen-1 mission launched by China, made it to Martian orbit final week. Hope will stay in orbit to review the Martian ambiance, however Tianwen-1 has a rover component that can try and land on Mars in Could.