NASA's Perseverance Rover Finally on Its Way to Mars

Rodiano Bonacci
Luglio 31, 2020

NASA's Mars 2020 mission payload leapt off the pad aboard its United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, flying from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 41 on July 30, and beginning its nearly 7 month journey to Mars.

The victor, Alex Mather of Lake Braddock Secondary School in Virginia, wrote, "We are a species of explorers, and we will meet many setbacks on the way to Mars". We are working to configure the ground stations to match the strength of the spacecraft signal. "This scenario is one we've worked through in the past with other missions", Bridenstine tweeted.

The rover is scheduled to land in Jezero Crater on Mars, and will not only look for signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past, but also search for signs of past microbial life.

A replica of the Mars rover Perseverance is displayed at the Kennedy Space Center Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

The spacecraft successfully separated from the rocket and the rover was "flying free", Nasa reported. That crater once hosted a lake with a river delta flowing into it, and scientists believe the rocks there may preserve evidence of any past Martian life.

The rover is also meant to help bring Martian rock samples back to Earth, collecting materials in cigar-sized capsules and leaving them in various spots on the surface for retrieval by a future "fetch" rover.

However, since Mars 2020 was too close to Earth and not yet in deep space, the network was not able to properly process the signals sent by the spacecraft. That will help NASA scientists learn more about Mars' temperature, wind speed, pressure, humidity, geology and dust size and shape. The oxygen could then be used by future astronauts to breathe or burn rocket fuel to return to Earth, according to NASA.

So far, the US has been the only country to successfully put a spacecraft on Mars, doing it eight times.

This is also backed by an evidence of 20 km wide liquid water body on Mars, though there is no evidence of life in this lake.

Both technologies are to supplement each other as NASA tries to lay groundwork for soon-to-come human explorations of the red planet.

If all goes well, the rover will descend to the Martian surface on February 18, 2021, in what NASA calls seven minutes of terror, in which the craft goes from 12,000 miles per hour (19,300 kph) to a complete stop, with no human intervention whatsoever. The thin Martian atmosphere - 99% less dense than Earth's - poses a challenge to Ingenuity, which was created to be light, with rotor blades that are larger and spin more quickly than what would be needed for a helicopter of its mass on Earth.

"We'll be searching for biosignatures: patterns, textures or substances that require the influence of life to form", said Katie Stack Morgan, Mars 2020 deputy project scientist, during a briefing to preview the mission. The rover, which is roughly the size of a vehicle, is contained within the top part of the Atlas V rocket together with its landing gear.

"Data indicate the spacecraft had entered a state known as safe mode, likely because a part of the spacecraft was a little colder than expected while Mars 2020 was in Earth's shadow", NASA said.

Charged with returning astronauts to the Moon by 2024, NASA will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028 through NASA's Artemis lunar exploration plans. Meenakshi Wadhwa, director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration, explained during a webinar before the launch that samples have never before been collected from the planet.

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