NASA Mars Launch 2020: Highlights from Journey of Fortitude Rover


NASA’s Perseverance Rover is leading Mars, the third spacecraft of the month.

Perseverance, a robotic wheeled vehicle designed to look for signs of past life on Mars, took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 7:50 am Eastern time on Thursday. The launch was pushed back a few weeks before recovering from technical delays and challenges imposed by the coronavirus epidemic, which required many of its engineers to work from home.

The rover’s destination is a crater, the jzero, which was once a lake in the northern hemisphere of Mars. Scientists believe that this is a promising place where signs of ancient Martian life can be preserved if there is life on Mars.

The Atlas 5 rocket launched the spacecraft away from Earth and to Mars on six and a half months. It follows the first July launch by the United Arab Emirates and China. While Persistence is the last to leave, all three missions must arrive at the Red Planet at about the same time, in February.

For those at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, who would be responsible for the operation of the mission during their trip to Mars, a magnitude 4.2 earthquake provided a slight additional shock to the countdown. It did not affect the launch, but employees working on the mission expressed surprise on Twitter.

Hours after launch, NASA was having some trouble communicating with the spacecraft, but officials were not worried. “It’s something we’ve seen before other Mars missions,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein said during a post-launch news conference.

The large radio dishes of the Deep Space Network that communicated with distant spacecraft throughout the solar system were receiving radio signals of persistence and clarity – in fact, much louder.

As Mr. Bridenstein was speaking, Deputy Project Manager Matt Wallace received a text message that the Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers had made adjustments, allowing the dish to lock onto telemetry data.

The Fixture is a car-shaped robot, nearly identical in design to Curiosity, NASA’s previous Mars rover, which landed in 2012. However, perseverance occupies a different place – a crater called Jezero that was once a lake – a different set of carrying devices. The inquisitive was designed to look for a habitable environment, and found signs of a freshwater lake. Perseverance is to go one step further and search for evidence of past lives that probably resided in Lake Jajero.

Fortitude is also carrying some devices that are more fun than scientific: many cameras, which will record various scenes as spacecraft zooms for landing through the atmosphere; And two microphones, which would be the first to record sounds on another planet.

It is also carrying experimental helicopters.

Yes, it is called congenital. The four-pound marscopter is a technology experiment, and if it works, it will be the first powered flight on another planet. The rotors have to rotate at 2,400 revolutions a minute to generate lift in the thin atmosphere of Mars as just one percent in the dense atmosphere on the Earth’s surface.

Some experiments conducted on persistence have nothing to do with the discovery of past life, but they can help astronauts from future life on Earth – Earth.

An important supply is that astronauts will need oxygen, to breathe and as a rocket propellant.

The Mars Oxygen In-situ Resource Utilization Experiment, or MOXIE, will take carbon dioxide molecules from the Martian atmosphere and split them into oxygen atoms and carbon monoxide.

MOXIE will try to show that this is possible on the surface of the red planet. But the amount of oxygen it can produce – less than an ounce per hour – is small.

“We’re making just about enough oxygen to keep a small dog alive,” said MOXIE principal investigator Michael Hatch.

But if the idea works, the technique could be employed on a much larger scale to fill rockets in the future. “So astronauts in future Mars missions can fly to come home from Mars,” he said.

Specimens of materials used in the riversuit are also kept firmly, one of the devices of the rover placed on the target used for testing.

“When I send someone in my spacesuit to Mars, I want to make sure they stay alive the whole time,” Amy Ross, one of NASA’s spacesuit designers, said during a news conference on Tuesday.

After repeated measurements over a few years on Mars with firmness, “we can understand the way our material is or is not in that environment,” he said.

On February 18 next year, at 3:40 pm Eastern time, firmness will come on Mars.

Every 26 months, Earth and Mars get closer to each other, allowing the fastest, most efficient journey from Earth to Mars. If the launch does not take place by mid-August, NASA will have to wait until the next opportunity in 2022.

The Jagero pit was filled with water about 3.5 billion years ago when Mars was hot and wet. From orbit, the first NASA spacecraft observed a drying river on one side of the jzero and an outflow channel can be seen on the other side. The sediment of the fan-shaped delta can be seen, where the river had spread into the pit. Scientists decided that no one knows if anything lives on Mars, but if it does, Jazero will be a prime location.

It is difficult to land on Mars. The planet’s thin atmosphere is not strong enough to provide enough drag to slow spacecraft such as spacecraft, which will reach more than 12,000 miles per hour. But the atmosphere is still thick enough to produce thousands of degrees of heat, complicating the task of slowing the firmness before slipping into the ground. Some landing attempts by NASA and other space agencies have ended with new pits being built on the surface of the Red Planet.

But NASA made five successive landings. To increase the likelihood that the Perseverance Rover will be the sixth, NASA has made adjustments for the parachute that slows the spacecraft when it reaches the Martian atmosphere. It has also improved the rover’s ability to identify a smooth landing site.

Emirates Mars Mission successfully landed on a Japanese rocket on 20 July.

The UAE’s space program is modest, and its bid to join the ranks of countries that have reached Mars is part of an ambitious effort to inspire Emirati youth to pursue careers in science and technology.

Its Hope spacecraft will orbit Mars for many years, helping scientists to study the planet’s weather cycles.

China launched the second mission Tianwen-1 on 23 July.

The country’s space program has seen many successes in recent years, including two rovers that are positioned on Earth’s moon as well as orbiting a pair of space stations. But his previous attempt to reach Mars in 2011 was scrambled when a Russian rocket failed and burned into Earth’s atmosphere.

The new Chinese mission includes an orbiter, a lander and a rover. While other countries have taken a staggered approach to Mars – first an orbiter, then a lander, then finally a rover – China insists that it will attempt to operate all these components for the first time.

According to the four scientists involved in the mission, the orbiter will study Mars and its atmosphere for about a Mars year or 687 days on Earth. In addition to two cameras, the spacecraft studied subsurface radars, a detector that studies Martian magnetic fields and three other scientific instruments.

The rover will try to land in the Utopia Planitia region in central northern Martian latitude. NASA’s Viking 2 mission touched there in 1976. Earlier studies using data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showed that Utopia Planitia has a layer equivalent to the water found in Lake Superior on Earth.

If it manages a dangerous Martian landing, the rover will use a mix of cameras, ground-penetrating radar, and other equipment to better understand the distribution of underground ice, which future human colonists on Mars would maintain themselves Can be used for. China’s mission is to last approximately 90 Martian days.

A fourth mission, the joint Russian-European Rosalind Franklin Rover, was also scheduled to begin this summer. But technical hurdles, exacerbated by the coronavirus epidemic, could not be overcome in time. It is now to be launched in 2022.

It is a little crowded around the red planet.

Currently six orbits are studying the planet from space. Three were sent there by NASA: Mars Odyssey, launched in 2001; Mars reconnaissance orbiter in 2005; And MAVEN, which left Earth in 2013.

There are two spacecraft in orbit in Europe. Its Mars Express Orbiter was launched in 2003, and the Exomars Trace Gas Orbiter, which was shared with Russia’s space program, was removed in 2016.

India operates the sixth spacecraft, the Mars Orbiter Mission, also known as Mangalyaan, which was launched in 2013.

Currently two US missions are underway. Curiosity has been revolving since 2012. It has been joined by a stable lander Insight studying Mars and other intrinsic properties of the red planet since 2018. A third US mission, Opportunity Rover, ended in 2018 when a dust storm struck. To lose power.

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