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7 things about NASA’s stellar rover about to land on Mars

Mars Perseverance Landing

of Mars In 2020, the Perseverance Mars rover has begun to study the “red planet”, which will help answer the next logical question in Mars exploration.

Only about 50 million miles (80 million kilometers) are left in its 293 million miles (471

million kilometers) trip, NASAThe “Mars 2020” Perseverance Rover is about to approach its new planet home. The spacecraft has begun to approach the Red Planet and burned in the Martian atmosphere at a speed of approximately 12,100 mph (19,500 kph) 43 days later (February 18, 2021), and landed gently on the surface of Mars after about 7 minutes.

“We are making final adjustments to make perseverance ideally positioned in one of the most interesting places on Mars,” said Fernando Abilleira, deputy mission manager of the Southern California Space Agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “The team can’t wait to put these wheels in some Martian dirt.”

Mars 2020 Rover test drive

In the clean room of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, engineers observed the first pilot test of NASA’s 2020 Mars Rover on December 17, 2019. Image source: NASA / JPL-Caltech

Established and managed by Joint police For NASA, Perseverance will work with another Mars rover and lander currently working on Mars, with several orbiters in the sky above. What makes this six-wheel robot unique?

1. Perseverance is looking for signs of ancient life.

Although the surface of Mars today is a frozen desert, scientists have learned from NASA’s previous missions that the “red planet” once hosted tap water and a warmer environment on its surface to sustain microbial life.

“We hope to persevere in helping us answer the next logical question: Are there signs of past microbial life on Mars?” said Katie Stack Morgan, associate project scientist at JPL. “This daunting goal means sending the most advanced robotic scientist to date to Mars.”

In order to solve this crucial problem in the field of astrobiology, Hengxin has provided a set of new cutting-edge scientific instruments. Two of them will play a particularly important role in finding potential signs of past lives: SHERLOC (abbreviation for Raman and luminescence scanning for the detection of organic matter and minerals in the habitable environment), which can detect organic matter and minerals; and PIXL (planetary Abbreviation). X-ray rock chemistry instrument), used to map the chemical composition of rocks and sediments. These instruments will enable scientists to analyze these characteristics in more detail than any previous Mars probe.

NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover spacecraft approaches Mars

This image shows NASA’s Mars 2020 spacecraft carrying a Persistent Rover as the Stellar approaches Mars. Image source: NASA / JPL-Catech

Perseverance will also use some instruments to collect scientific data from a distance: Mastcam-Z’s camera can zoom in on the texture of rocks as far as the football field, and SuperCam will use lasers to break the rocks and reform them (broken rocks and dust) to study their production The composition of the vapor. RIMFAX (short for Radar Imager for Mars Underground Experiments) will use radar waves to detect underground geological features.

2. The rover landed in a place where signs of past microbial life are likely to be found.

The terrain of interest to scientists may be difficult to challenge. Thanks to the new technology, Perseverance can more accurately aim the target at the landing site and automatically avoid the danger of landing, so the spacecraft can safely land in the 28-mile (45 km wide) basin Jezero Crater and other fascinating places where there are steep cliffs , Sand dunes and boulder fields.

NASA’s Perseverance Rover will complete its journey to Mars on February 18, 2021. To reach the surface of the red planet, it must go through the last stages of pain, namely entry, descent and landing. Image source: NASA / JPL-Caltech

More than 3.5 billion years ago, a river there flowed into the waters about the size of Lake Tahoe and deposited in fan-shaped sediments called deltas. The Perseverance Scientific team believes that this ancient delta and lake sediment may have collected and preserved organic molecules and other potential signs of microbial life.

3. Perseverance is still collecting important data about the geology and climate of Mars.

Context is everything. The Mars Orbiter has been collecting images and data from Jezero Crater about 200 miles (322 kilometers) above, but to find signs of ancient creatures on the surface requires more careful inspection. It needs a roamer like perseverance.

Jezero Crater Mars Express Orbiter

This image shows the remains of an ancient delta in the Jezero crater on Mars, as seen by the high-resolution stereo camera on the ESA (European Space Agency) Mars Express orbiter. Image source: ESA / FU-Berlin

Understanding the past climate conditions of Mars and reading the geological history buried in its rocks will enable scientists to better understand what the planet was like in the distant past. Studying the geology and climate of the “red planet” can also give us an understanding of why the Earth and Mars are so different in the end despite some similarities in the early days.

4. Perseverance is the first step to and from Mars.

The verification of ancient life on Mars carries a huge burden of proof. Perseverance is the first rover to bring a sample caching system to Mars, with the goal of packaging promising samples for future missions to return to Earth.

Perseverance’s drill tools will not crush rocks like the drill bits on NASA’s Curiosity rover. Instead, they will cut into a piece of chalk-sized intact core and put it in the sample tube until the rover reaches a proper drop. So far, and then store it. Not on Mars. The rover may also transport samples to the lander as part of the Mars sample return movement planned by NASA and the European Space Agency (European Space Agency).

Once the samples reach Earth, we can inspect them with instruments that are too large to be sent to Mars, and even the most sophisticated rover cannot provide more information about them.

5. Durable instruments and technology will pave the way for humans to perform missions to the moon and Mars.

The forward-looking technology in this task that is conducive to human exploration includes terrain relative navigation. As part of the spacecraft landing system, terrain-relative navigation will enable the descending spacecraft to quickly and autonomously understand its position on the Martian surface and modify its trajectory.

Perseverance has greater autonomy on the ground than any other roamer, including self-driving smart devices, which will allow it to cover more ground in a day’s operations without the need for instructions from earth engineers. This rapid traversal capability will make the exploration of the moon, Mars and other celestial bodies more efficient for other aircraft.

In addition, Perseverance also carried out a technical experiment called MOXIE (abbreviation of Mars Oxygen Field Resource Utilization Experiment), which will generate oxygen from Mars’ carbon dioxide atmosphere. It will prove that future explorers may produce oxygen for rocket propellant and breathing.

Two other instruments will help engineers design systems for future human explorers to land and survive on Mars: the MEDLI2 (Mars Entry, Descent, and Landing Instrument 2) package is the next-generation Curiosity Rover to perform Mars Science Laboratory missions The MEDA (Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer) instrument kit provides information on weather, climate, and surface ultraviolet radiation and dust.

The gritty can also take the Ingenuity Mars helicopter. Different from the rover’s scientific mission is a technical experiment, Ingenuity will attempt to fly the first power-controlled airplane in another world. If the helicopter succeeds in the demonstration window of 30 Mars days (31 Earth days), the data can help the future exploration of the red planet (including exploration by astronauts) by adding new air dimensions.

6. Perseverance rover embodies NASA and the scientific spirit of overcoming challenges.

Taking a spacecraft to the launch pad during a pandemic, looking for signs of ancient life, collecting samples and proving new technology is no easy task. A soft landing on Mars is also not an easy task: only about 50% of Mars landing attempts by any space agency are successful.

The mission team drew inspiration from the name of its rover, and was particularly aware of the challenges facing the world at this moment. With this in mind, the mission set up a special plate to commemorate the dedication and hard work of the medical community and global first responders. The team hopes to inspire the entire world and future explorers, open up new paths, and create new discoveries for the next generation.

7. You will have a smooth journey.

The “Mars 2020 Perseverance” mission carries more cameras than any interplanetary mission in history. The Ranger itself has 19 cameras, and the other four space shuttle cameras involve entry, descent and landing. As with previous missions to Mars, the “Mars 2020 Perseverance” mission is planned to provide original and processed images on the website of the site.

Real-time tracking of the “Mars 2020” mission, which will fly to the “Red Planet”. Zoom in and let the spacecraft spin, or view the full interactive experience on “Eyes of the Solar System”. Image source: NASA / JPL-Caltech

If all goes well, the public will be able to experience the sensation of landing on Mars in high definition – and hear the sound of the landing for the first time through a ready-made microphone installed on the side of the rover. Another microphone on the SuperCam will help scientists understand the nature of the rock being examined by the instrument, and listen to the wind.

If you are one of the 10.9 million people who signed to send your name to Mars, then your name will be printed on one of the three silicon chips embedded in the rover board with Morse The term “integrated exploration” of telecode.

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