How NASA’s Mars Fortitude Rover Will Make the Hardest Landing Ever on Red Planet


Currently passing through space, 25 million miles from its destination, NASA’s Perseverance Rover will soon attempt the toughest landing on Mars before it begins its hunt for ancient life.

When it arrives on February 18, Firmness Over 12,000 mph will enter Mars’ atmosphere, staring into the Mars sky like a meteor for seven nail-biting, finally jazero craters, which is a site Curiosity rover Was technically unable to reach.

NASA scientists call it “Seven minute panic

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This illustration shows the events that occur in the last minutes of the nearly seven-month journey that NASA’s Perseverance Rover takes to Mars. For the rover to land safely on February 18, 2021, hundreds of critical events must be executed completely and exactly on time.

NASA / JPL-Caltech


The rover must avoid intense heat similar to the sun’s surface and slump as it tries to get down. A parachute of 70 feet in diameter will help slow it down, as it attempts to find a way to the pit.

Then, a “skycrane”, which was also used Curiosity, Will allow firmness to lower itself to the surface. When the rover finally lands, it will touch on its wheels at a slower speed than humans can walk.

“I don’t think that when I say entry, descent and landing (EDL) is the most important and most dangerous part of the mission,” EDL chief Alan Chen said during a news conference. “Success is never assured, and that’s especially true when we’re trying to build the largest, heaviest and most complex rover we’ve ever built on the most dangerous site we’ve ever hit the ground Tried to take off. ”

And perseverance has to do all this on its own. Radio signals take more than 11 minutes to return to Earth, so the entirety of the EDL will be done without the help of mission control.

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With its heat shield facing the planet, NASA’s Fortitude Rover begins its descent through the Mars atmosphere in this depiction.

NASA / JPL-Caltech


NASA chose Jzero crater As a landing site, as scientists believe, based on orbital photographs of the region, that it was once filled with water, an ancient ancient house. The water is long gone, but the carved deposits make the crater an ideal place to check for signs of ancient life.

The crater is filled with steep rocks, sand, boulders and impact craters, all of which make landing more difficult. When firmness touches, it must do so near the remnants of the delta, where traces of microbe organisms can be resolved.

“Jezero Crater is a great place, a great place for science. But when I look at it from a landing perspective, I see danger,” Chen said. “This is a formidable challenge.”

Fortitude Rover, which Launched last July, NASA has ever attempted to land on Mars, weighing more than a metric ton and carrying 50% more science and technology than Curiosity, which landed in 2012. Two new technologies will strongly help land safely – a range trigger, which allows the rover to decide when to deploy the parachute, and Relative Navigation, which essentially gives the rover an eye and a map Is, so it can ensure that it can land in the right place.

“If it wasn’t for the range trigger and terrain relative navigation, we couldn’t just go to the JZero,” Chen said.

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Illustration of NASA’s Perseverance Rover landing safely on Mars.

NASA / JPL-Caltech


The coronavirus epidemic has only further complicated the landing.

“We hoped that our state of the world with respect to COVID would have improved since launch. It is not, and this means that we must be flexible and adaptable to work safely and effectively,” Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate, said. Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate. “Despite everything that COVID has caused, it is above the constant innovation, dedication and unity of this team that has firmly allowed the Rover to continue safely.”

Perseverance is taking a new cool, new technology, including a Small helicopter named Ingenuity And the necessary equipment to collect samples for future study on Earth. For the first time, we will also be able to see and hear what it is like to land on another planet, thanks to a new camera and microphone system.

These new and more accurate EDL technologies will help enable Human exploration of red planet In the future, scientists said.

NASA will be live-streaming the historic event on its website on February 18, starting at 2:15 pm ET.

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