Perseverance, NASA’s rover made successful landing on Mars
Earlier this month we had good news about Arab’s first Mars Mission Hope’s successful entry into orbit. Now after completing a journey of 472 million km in 203 days, NASA’s most advanced and largest rover Perseverance made a successful landing on the red planet on 18th February.
It was launched on 30th July 2020 from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. With a mission of collecting samples and bringing them back on Earth. Currently, the lander Insight and the rover Curiosity from NASA are on Mars and both are operational. The team members of this mission declared and celebrated the success of the landing. Around 3.55 EST in the mission control room of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Southern California.
What are the responsibilities of Perseverance?
This ‘geologist robot’ Perseverance about the size of a car weighing 2263 lbs (1026 kg). It would analyze the rock and sediment of a crater named Jezero. Jezero is basically a 45 km wide crater which is situated at the western edge of Isidis Planitia. That is a large basin north of the equator of Mars. Scientists assume that around 3.5 billion years ago this crater had its own river delta and was filled with water.
Consisting of 7 scientific instruments, the most number of cameras, and first of its kind sample collection technology Perseverance is equipped with Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG). This is for the necessary heat and electric power. Director of the Planetary Science Division of NASA, Lori Glaze says, “Perseverance is the most advanced geologist robot of this planet.”
In addition to analyzing the rocks, sediment, etc from the Jezera crater to characterize the geology and past climate of the region. The other most important part of this mission is astrobiology i.e., search for ancient microbial life. It is not possible to send larger and complex machines to Mars. That is why one of the important parts of the mission also is to bring the rock and sediment samples to Earth and analyze them.
According to Thomas Zurbuchen, associate science administrator of NASA, “Perseverance is the first step towards bringing back rocks from Mars.”
This mission is also paving the way for a manned mission to Mars!
While talking about Perseverance, the director of Jet Propulsion Laboratory Michael Watkins told that it has the ability to provide error-free data on the entry and landing on Mars.
The Mars Entry, Descent and Landing Instrumentation 2 (MEDLI2) sensor on Perseverance collect detailed information which would help in future missions with man and payloads.
The responsibilities are of Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL) and Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals (SHERLOC). These technologies onboard are to characterize the geology. And conduct a search for the minerals and organic molecules which create the building block of life on Earth.
The Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) technology would attempt to create oxygen from the gasses in the atmosphere of Mars (mostly carbon-di-oxide). There is also a technology called the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter which will study and test the possibility of controlled flight on Mars. The project manager of this mission John McNamee thus says, “This mission is the proof of what mankind can achieve when they persevere.