Reprinted with permission from World in general, a news website on nature, politics, science, health and travel.
NASA and the world just celebrated the fifth American rover to land on the surface of the Red Planet.
The rover brings with it a series of research teams aimed at examining the planet’s surface for signs of ancient microbial life. Collecting that data will take a while, but in the meantime, monitoring equipment like microphones and cameras have already sent out some exceptional media tastings of just how immersive modern exploration of Mars can be.
On Sunday, NASA released the first audio recordings of Mars. You can even hear here the sounds of the wind blowing on the fourth planet from the sun.
A few days before that, the images of the rover deploying his parachute during his descent he left.
“Now we finally have a front-row view of what we call ‘the seven minute terror’ as we land on Mars,” said Michael Watkins, director of JPL. “From the explosive opening of the parachute to the plume of the landing rockets sending dust and debris flying upon landing, it is absolutely stunning.”
“For those wondering how to land on Mars, or why it is so difficult, or how cool it would be to do so, you don’t need to look any further,” said Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk in a NASA statement. “Perseverance is just beginning and has already provided some of the most iconic imagery in the history of space exploration. It reinforces the remarkable level of engineering and precision required to build and fly a vehicle to the Red Planet. “
What’s next for perseverance?
Perseverance is currently in a lengthy and thorough review and troubleshooting of all its components and systems. You will then go out looking for points to drill in and around the Jezero crater where you landed.
Meanwhile, he has been taking thousands of photos of his new surroundings. Fortunately, everyone has got on the NASA RAW Image Folder on their website and include photos taken during each step of the robot’s journey.
As part of its suite of instruments, the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, a simple construction of four kilograms of basic materials, will be charged using its solar panel to perform the first air flight on Mars.
The helicopter sent its first status report from its current home attached to the Perseverance rover’s landing gear, where it will remain for 30 of the total 60 days it will be in operation. All systems are currently running smoothly, and it will slowly charge its six lithium-ion batteries for the next phase of the project: periodic episodes of sustained hovering.
If Ingenuity succeeds in taking off and hovering during its first flight, more than 90% of the project objectives will have been achieved. If the helicopter lands successfully and remains operational, up to four more flights could be attempted, each building on the success of the previous one.
The device will have to survive the icy Martian nights, where temperatures drop to -130 degrees Fahrenheit (-90 degrees Celsius), in order to carry out each of these next four flights. The longer it can remain operational, the more information the scientists operating the helicopter can learn about how to build better in the future.
“We are in uncharted territory, but this team is used to it,” said MiMi Aung, Project Manager for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at JPL. “Almost every milestone from here to the end of our flight demonstration program will be a first, and each must be successful for us to move on to the next. We will enjoy this good news for now, but then we have to get back to work. “
(CLOCK the video of Perseverance’s landing on Mars below).
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