Breaking News

Mars receives visitors

NASA brilliantly succeeded Thursday in landing its Perseverance rover on Mars, the fifth vehicle only to have successfully made the journey to the red planet.

NASA brilliantly succeeded Thursday in landing its Perseverance rover on Mars, the fifth vehicle only to have successfully made the journey to the red planet.

(AFP) – Since 10 p.m. Thursday evening, Perseverance has been at work on Mars. The US Space Agency rover must now find proof of past life on the Red Planet. And he has several years ahead of him for that. But the machine knows how to be patient; before reaching its Martian goal Perseverance traveled more than 470 million kilometers in 203 days.

The landing maneuver was ultra-perilous and the site chosen, the Jezero crater, the most risky ever attempted, because of its relief. The landing was so perfect that Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for Science at NASA, pointed out in a memorable gesture during the post-landing press conference: “Every time we land we have two planes, one that we want to achieve, and a second one that’s right here, ”he said, holding several sheets of paper in his hands. “This is what we do with the unplanned plan,” he announced, tearing them apart, to applause.

US President Joe Biden hailed a “historic” landing, proof he said of the “power of science” and “American ingenuity”.

US President Joe Biden hailed a “historic” landing, proof he said of the “power of science” and “American ingenuity”.

Photo: AFP

After entering the Martian atmosphere at 20,000 km / h, friction with the air raised the temperature of the ship to 1,300 ° C. The rover was protected by a heat shield, which was only released after the opening of a huge supersonic parachute.

Eight retro-rockets finished slowing the vehicle, the most complex and the largest (one ton) ever sent to Mars, before it deploys its six wheels, suspended along cables until contact with the ground. NASA has promised an unprecedented video of the vertiginous descent on Monday.

For the first time, the US space agency’s Mars 2020 mission has the explicit goal of finding traces of ancient life on the Red Planet, by collecting up to thirty rock samples for at least two years. The sealed tubes will then have to be brought back to Earth by a future mission, in the 2030s, in order to be analyzed and perhaps finally be able to answer “one of the questions that have inhabited us for centuries, namely: are we are we alone in the universe? ”according to Thomas Zurbuchen.

The first samples should start this summer. Scientists are looking for what they call biosignatures, like traces of microbial life fossilized in rocks. “Either we find life, and that would be an exceptional discovery, or else it is not, (…) and it will suggest that all habitable environments are not inhabited”, indicate the designers of this scientific adventure.

360 videos are not supported. Watch the 360 ​​video in the Youtube app.

The first months of the mission will not however be devoted to this first objective. Once the robotic arm of more than two meters deployed and a whole series of verifications made, NASA first wants to prove, in a few weeks, that it is possible to fly a motorized device on another planet. A helicopter, baptized Ingenuity, should be able to rise in air with a density equivalent to 1% of that of the Earth’s atmosphere.

This handout illustration obtained on February 11, 2021 by CNES photo library, shows a French made SuperCam unit remote-sensing instrument, installed atop of the Peseverance rover for the March 2020 Scientific mission, which will explore ancient environments of the planet Mars in order to decipher its geological history and better characterize its habitability. (Photo by Handout / CNES / VR2Planet 2021 / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION – MANDATORY CREDIT “AFP PHOTO / CNES / VR2Planet 2021” – TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION – NOKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS /

AFP

NASA will also experience the production of oxygen directly on site, using an instrument the size of a car battery functioning much like a plant, by sucking carbon dioxide from the Martian atmosphere. This oxygen could be used by future human settlers to breathe, but also as fuel.


Tags

Related Articles

Back to top button
Close
Close