NASA’s next Mars rover is only half way from its otherworldly destination.
of Perseverance of Mars 2020 roverTask force members announced on Tuesday (October 27) that the aircraft was launched on July 30 and has flown 146 million miles (235 million kilometers) in deep space, half of the total distance required to reach the Red Planet.
“Although I don’t think there will be a cake, especially since most of us work from home, it is still a very tidy milestone,” said Julie, mission navigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California. Julie Kangas said, Said in a statement on Tuesday. “Next stop, Jezero Crater.”
related: Photos from NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover mission
The Resolute will land on the 28-mile (45 km) Jezero on February 18, which was once an ancient lake and river delta. The car-sized rover will describe the geology and climate of the area in detail, and look for possible signs of longevity, among other tasks.
Perseverance will also collect and cache dozens of samples from the topography of Mars for future return to Earth.This return campaign is a joint effort of NASA and the European Space Agency, and this precious Martian material can be obtained here. As early as 2031.
In addition, perseverance can keep a small part of the abdomen The helicopter named Ingenuity, This is a demonstration vehicle designed to pave the way for future exploration of a wide range of rotorcraft on Mars.
NASA officials said that on Tuesday at 4:40 pm Eastern Time (2040 GMT), the rover reached the exact midpoint of interstellar travel-146.3 million miles (235.4 million kilometers). But perseverance is bending towards Mars, so when the space crow is flying, the spacecraft is not between the two planets.
“On a straight line, the earth is 26.6 million miles [42.7 million km] The distance between Perseverance and Mars is 17.9 million miles [28.8 million km] In front of. “
In the current “parade phase” of the mission, the Perseverance team did not sit down. For example, in the past two weeks, team members checked out four different rover instruments. NASA officials said everything is working well.
Keith Comeaux, JPL’s deputy chief engineer for mission, said in the same statement: “If it is part of our spacecraft and electricity passes through it, we want to confirm that it will still work normally after launch. ”
Comeaux said: “In between these checkouts, plus charging the rover and Mars helicopter batteries, uploading files and sequences for surface operations, and planning and executing trajectory correction exercises, our license plate is ready until we land. .”
You can track the deep space trek of the rover in real time Here.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out Central” (Grand Central Press, 2018; Karl Tate illustration), a book about the search for alien life book. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.