A space race of more than 12,000 km / h, by NASAArrived on Mars on Thursday and pulled off an exciting seven-minute dive in the Al atmosphere On the red earth to look for evidence of past microbial life in the remains of an ancient lake.
“Touchdown Happiness! Perseverance is safely on Mars, ready to start looking for the signs of a previous life!” Swati Mohan, a training, navigation and control officer monitoring telemetry in the jet propulsion lab, called as the rover touched down. Elevated flight engineers, if they are socially distant, burst into applause and applause, anxiety makes way for relief in the joy of the moment.
The relief was understandable. Often described as “Seven Minutes of Horror,” Rover’s drop was aOf computerized orchestrated launch or break events that had to work almost flawlessly to drop the 2,260-pound rover safely onto an ancient lake in the Gizro Crater, avoiding dangerous cliffs, large rocks and sand dunes in the process.
And the $ 2.4 billion rover did just that.
“I almost feel like I’m in a dream,” said Jennifer Trosper, the project’s deputy director. “Our job is to think about all the bad things that can happen and try to avoid those, and when all the good things happen, you feel like you’re dreaming. And I’m happy to feel like I’m dreaming!”
President Biden Tweet: “Congratulations to NASA and all those whose hard work has enabled the historic landing of perseverance.”
The Rover struck the upper part of the distinct Martian atmosphere at 15:48 PM and then quickly accelerated in a fire of atmospheric friction, its protective heat shield holding temperatures as high as 2,700 degrees – hot enough to melt stainless steel – and braking power 10 times the force of gravity on Earth.
Reduced to just under 1,000 mph, it placed a giant 70.5-foot parachute in the supersonic current and used an advanced training system to identify hazards and select a safe landing point.
Then, less than a minute from a touchdown, at an altitude of about 3.3 miles, the persistence fell off the parachute while still descending at about 200 mph. Seconds later, eight rocket-propelled engines were set on fire and slowed the craft to less than two mph Until it reached an expected height of only about 70 feet.
At that point the persistence was lowered towards the surface suspended by strings while the jet package continued to decline. At 3:55 p.m., the Rover’s six wheels settled to the surface, the nuts were cut and the “Sky Crane” backpack flew off and crashed at a safe distance.
“Hello, world,” perseverance “tweeted” a few minutes after landing, uploading Rover’s first photo of his landing site. “My first look at my house forever.”
The Earth plummeted below the horizon, as observed from the Gizro Crater about a minute before touching, disconnecting X-ray radio signals directly to the Earth from persistence. But the UHF signals confirming the landing were transmitted to the JPL by NASA’s Mars patrol orbiter, which went overhead.
“Skyscraper maneuvering has begun. About 20 feet above the surface,” Mohan reported as the Rover’s descent approached its conclusion.
“We are still receiving signals from MRO,” an engineer reported
“Touchdown confirmed!” Mohan exclaimed a moment later.
Moments later, the first image came in from one of Rover’s risk cameras, showing a relatively flat surface with no large rocks or other obstacles. “Yes! Wow oh!” Called an engineer when the photo came up in the control room views.
The Rover’s automatic descent appears to be impeccable, as its flight computer used multiple cameras, radars and other sensors to figure out where it was relative to the planned landing destination. The Rover then adjusted its trajectory as needed to avoid possible end-of-mission hazards.
Persistence was forced to cancel the landing on its own because radio signals, traveling 186,000 miles per second, took more than 11 minutes to cross the 127 million-mile bay between Earth and Mars. Flight engineers at JPL could only sit and wait, and watch dripping data within 11 minutes of the act.
And to their relief, seven months laterMe and an interstellar voyage spanning 293 million miles, NASA’s fifth Martian Quarter, the first specifically designed to search for previous signs of life, is safely on the Red Earth.
Gizro Crater was focused because it once held a 28-kilometer-wide body of water the size of Lake Tahoe. The ancient lake was fed by a river that cut through the crater rim, depositing sediment in a fan-like delta that is clearly visible from the runway. The Rover landed about 2.2 miles southeast of the Delta, near the center of its footprint and its predicted landing size of 4.8 by 4.1 miles.
“We think we’re heading southeast based on the shadows, about 140 degrees,” Trosper said. “The tilt is flat, it’s about 1.2 degrees. The power system looks good … everything looks great.”
A robot geologist on Mars
Assuming no major problems develop, engineers plan to spend about 90 days testing the Rover’s complex devices and systems.
During the first month they also plan to deploy and test a small amount of 4.5 pounds, $ 80 millionWhich will attempt the first propulsion flight in the thin air of Mars, “Wright Brothers Moment” in another world.
Another experiment will test the feasibility of producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, a technology that could one day help future astronauts produce their own air fuel and rockets.
But the main purpose of the mission is to look for signs of biological activity in the past.
Equipped with a robotic arm, a drill for core sampling and a suite of sophisticated cameras, lasers that evaporate rocks and other devices, Persistence will learn deposits in lakes, cross the delta and eventually pass it to the ancient shoreline of the lake, and collect promising samples along the way.
Selected rocks and soil will be placed in a complex internal carousel mechanism that will photograph, analyze and load them autonomously in sealed lipstick-sized tubes. The rover will deposit, or cache, the opaque samples on Mars to wait for collection.
NASA and the European Space Agency plan to send another navigator to Jaziro later in the decade to collect the samples, load them with a small rocket and blow them up into a Martian orbit, where another spacecraft will hijack them for flight back to Earth.