He’s currently racing through space, rapidly approaching his destination.will make the toughest landing ever attempted on Mars on Thursday before the hunt for old life begins.
When it arrives on Thursday afternoonwill enter the Martian atmosphere at a speed of over 19,000 km / h and roam the Martian sky like a meteor for seven minutes before finally landing in the Jezero crater, a place where the Martian atmosphere lands was technologically incapable of achieving.
NASA scientists call it the “. “
The rover has to survive both the intense heat, comparable to the sun’s surface, and the delay in descent, while trying to land in the right place. A parachute 70 feet in diameter slows him down as he tries to find his way to the crater.
Then a “Skycrane” which was also used by, allows endurance to sink to the surface. When the rover finally lands, it lands more slowly on its wheels than people walk.
“I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say that entry, descent and landing (EDL) is the most critical and dangerous part of the mission,” said Allen Chen, the EDL director, at a news conference this week. “Success is never assured, and that’s especially true when we try to land the largest, heaviest, most complicated rover we’ve ever built in the most dangerous spot we’ve ever tried to land.”
And perseverance has to do it all alone. It takes more than 11 minutes for radio signals to return to Earth, so all of the EDL is done without the help of Mission Control.
NASA chose thatas a landing site because, based on orbital photos of the region, scientists believe that it was once filled with water and was home to an ancient river delta. The water has long since disappeared, but debris in the lake makes the crater an ideal place to look for signs of old life.
The crater is filled with sheer cliffs, sand, boulders, and impact craters that make landing difficult. If persistence sets in, it must be near the remains of the delta where traces of microbial organism may have settled.
“Jezero Crater is a great place, a great place for science. But when I look at it from a landing perspective, I see danger,” said Chen. “It’s a huge challenge.”
The Perseverance Rover thatis the largest vehicle NASA has ever attempted to land on Mars. It weighs over a ton and carries 50% more science and technology than Curiosity, which landed in 2012. Two new technologies are helping Perseverance land safely – a range trigger that allows the rover to decide when to parachute and terrain-based navigation, which essentially gives the rover eyes and a map so it can check whether it lands in the right place.
“Without range triggers and terrain-based navigation, we just couldn’t go to Jezero,” said Chen.
TheThe pandemic made landing even more difficult.
“We hoped that the situation in our world regarding COVID would have improved since launch. This has not improved, and that means we had to be flexible and adaptable to continue to work safely and effectively,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate. “Regardless of what has happened as a result of COVID, it is the constant innovation, commitment and most importantly the unity of this team that has made it possible to continue work on the Perseverance rover in a safe manner.”
Persistence brings a lot of cool new technology, including aand the tools necessary to collect samples for future studies on Earth. For the first time, thanks to a new camera and microphone system, we can also see and hear what it’s like to land on another planet.
These new and more precise EDL technologies will help make this possiblein the future, said scientists.
NASA will stream the historic event live on their website from 2:15 p.m. on Thursday. ET.