By Tony Winterburn • 19 February 2021 • 7:00
NASA's Perseverance Rover Beams Back First Pictures From Red Planet. image: Pixabay
NASA’s Perseverance Rover Beams Back First Pictures From The Red Planet.
NASA’s Perseverance Rover has sent back its first images from the surface of the Red Planet after making a successful landing. The historic moment was the culmination of a seven-month journey in space and a considerably shorter, but tense, trip through the Martian atmosphere.
After cruising through space for little over seven months, Perseverance entered its entry, descent, and landing stage, also fondly known at NASA as the seven minutes of terror.
“That’s the time it takes for the vehicle to make it from the top of the atmosphere on Mars down to its surface,” Michelle Munk, a Systems Capability Lead for Entry, Descent, and Landing at NASA, said. “It basically has to go from about 12,000 miles per hour (~5364 metres per second) to zero in a short period of time. Many things can go wrong during this process.”
Steve Jurczyk, NASA’s acting administrator, said in the moments after: “It’s amazing to have Perseverance join Curiosity on Mars and what a credit to the team.
“Just what an amazing team to work through all the adversity and all the challenges that go with landing a rover on Mars, plus the challenges of COVID. And just an amazing accomplishment.”
Built using components designed for Curiosity, the latest rover is pretty similar to its predecessor. It also comes armed with numerous cameras to snap Martian terrain, spectrometers to detect chemical compounds, sensors to monitor weather, and a robotic arm.
Perseverance will now use its various tools to analyse a sample’s chemical composition and structure to find any material that may contain organic compounds or minerals formed in water. The most promising samples will be drilled and stored into capsules for future spacecraft to collect.
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