When it comes to space events, few things are as exciting as the landing of a craft on another planet. He is tense. It is exciting. It is a high risk. On February 18, NASA’s Perseverance spacecraft will aim to continue the landing on Mars, ushering in a new era in exploration of the red planet.
While NASA has a lot of experience delivering machines to Mars (here’s a look at you, Curiosity And the insight), It doesn’t make it easier this time. «Landing on Mars is difficult» NASA said. «Only about 40% of the missions sent to Mars — by any space agency — have been successful.»
It will be a wild ride. Here’s what to expect on your persistence landing day.
How to watch
NASA will provide live coverage of the landing. NASA TV broadcasts from the Mission Control Center begin Thursday Feb 18 at 11:15 am PDT. Jezero Crater is scheduled to land on Mars at around 12:30 PM PDT.
It wouldn’t be like launching a missile as we can see every detail as it happens. We’ll get NASA comments and updates, views from the Mission Control Center, and hopefully you’ll get some pictures soon after they land. It will be a must-watch for space enthusiasts.
We’ve been to Mars before. So why all the hype? The red planet is adjacent to our solar system. It is as rocky as the ground. It has a long history of water. We can imagine ourselves possibly living there someday.
«The level of people’s interest in this planet is extraordinary.» Alice Gorman — A space archaeologist and associate professor at Flinders University in Australia — he told CNET. Gorman shed light on humanity’s search for life outside Earth and how Mars is a candidate to host microbial life in its ancient past.
NASA’s Resilience rover is ready to explore the wilderness of Mars
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There is also something special about the rover, which is a mechanical wheeled creature with «head» and «eyes». “People feel about roving vehicles because they are active and moving,” Gorman said, likening it to a parent’s sense of attachment. flow Passion over the demise of NASA’s Opportunity rover It proves how humans can communicate with the Mars Explorer. Perseverance is set to become our new Mars lover.
Seven minutes of horror
The arrival of Mars is always terrifying. NASA calls the EDL process an «entry, descend and descend.»
«During the descent, the rover rushes through the thin Mars atmosphere, using the heat shield first, at speeds of over 12,000 miles per hour (about 20,000 km / h),» NASA said in explaining the landing. There’s a reason NASA described the landing as «seven minutes of terror.»
It will fire small thrusts to keep the rover on track on the potentially rugged journey through the atmosphere. The rover’s heat shield helps slow it down. At an altitude of about 7 miles (11 kilometers), A. Supersonic parachute It will spread and the persistence will soon separate from its heat shield.
NASA gave a briefing on January 27th with Prof. A detailed summary of the entire EDL sequence, Including the «sky lift» maneuver, which reduces the rover’s final distance from the roof using a set of cables.
If all goes well, you will end up persevering on Mars. «The really difficult part is the easy landing, not the ground crashing, then deploying the moving parts,» said Gorman. Perseverance is not alone in the journey. She also carries a helicopter called Creativity in her stomach. Creativity will be unleashed later in the mission.
The mission is equipped with cameras and microphones designed to capture the EDL operation, so we can expect to see and hear the thrill of the landing at some point. «It’s going to be the raw sounds of coming down and going up to the surface,» Gorman said. «This is a whole other level of sensory interaction.»
It takes time to send data between Mars and Earth. For us back home, we can expect the first image not long after the landing, but the full visual and audio experience may take a few days for NASA to share it with the world.
The agency released a teaser trailer for Access in December showing an animated and accelerated version of the process. You’ll get an idea of just how wild a rover lands on another planet.
Gorman is excited to have pictures of Jezero Crater’s rover landing site. This will be your first up-close look at the landscape of a region with a history of water. Perseverance, hoping to explore this history and search for evidence of life.
While images, sounds, helicopters, and all-around science will be reasons to celebrate, there is the long-awaited question the mission may answer: Was Mars the home of microbial life? Gorman said, «It would be really cool if we had a little more deal with whether anything had ever lived on Mars.»
Perseverance is our next big hope in looking for signs of extraterrestrial life. Everything starts with sticking in the fall.
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