- NASA’s Mars 2020 mission is closing its landing date, which is expected to be a few weeks away.
- The mission, which includes the Perseverance Rover as well as Mars Ingenuity helicopters, relies on a successful landing that is largely out of NASA’s hands at the moment.
- The landing sequence is mostly automated, so NASA engineers can do little but sit back and hope for the best.
When NASA began its Mars 2020 mission last year, it was the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. The mission, which has been traveling through space for the past several months, is slated to come to the surface of Mars on February 18, and NASA is counting down the seconds until a touchdown occurs.
One of the biggest obstacles, which still exists between NASA and a successful Mars 2020 mission, is the landing of the rover capsule itself. The so-called “Seven Minutes of Terror” that NASA often speaks of as landing is essentially a seven-minute window where the spacecraft will start its descent and, if all goes according to plan, the most technical built for space. Deliver advanced machines Planet surface search.
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In a new blog post, NASA offers a glimpse of where the mission stands, and the potential pitfalls it has on its way:
The spacecraft has about 25.6 million miles (41.2 million km) remaining in its 292.5 million-mile (470.8 million km) journey and is currently closing that distance at 1.6 miles per second (2.5 kilometers per second). Once at the top of the Red Planet’s atmosphere, an action-packed descent of seven minutes awaits – complete with temperatures equal to the Sun’s surface, a supersonic parachute inflation, and the first autonomous guided landing on Mars.
Because of the distance between Mars and Earth, controlling the spacecraft in real time is out of the question. Commands will take a few minutes to arrive at their destination, so it is up to the spacecraft for any variables that may threaten descent and landing.
If the spacecraft is successful, and the landing takes off without a hitch, the potential for new discoveries on Mars is huge. The Perseverance Rover is the most advanced piece of hardware sent to Mars, and it will be able to tell scientists about the Red Planet things that have never been studied in this way before.
Caltech’s Ken Farley, a scientist who worked on the 2020 mission to Mars, said, “The rigorously designed science tools will not only help hunt for fossil microbial life, but also Martian geology and its past, present and future Will expand our knowledge about. ” a statement. “Our science team is busy planning how best to work with what we anticipate will be a firehose of cutting-edge data. We are looking forward to this kind of ‘problem’.
We can’t wait to see what happens.