After a seven-month journey to the Crimson Planet, the Perseverance rover is lastly prepared to the touch down on Mars. We’ve acquired you coated for the historic touchdown, as you may observe the dreaded “seven minutes of terror” reside proper right here.
“No Mars landing is guaranteed, but we have been preparing a decade to put this rover’s wheels down on the surface of Mars and get to work,” Jennifer Trosper, deputy venture supervisor for the Mars 2020 mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, stated in a assertion.
Certainly, area is tough, because the saying goes, and Mars, named for the Roman god of warfare, all the time presents a problem to potential guests. Roughly 60% of all missions to Mars have failed, in what’s a sobering reminder of the complexities concerned. This subsequent try shall be no exception, with NASA describing the Thursday touchdown as probably the most exact but. The rover should depend on unproven navigational aids, whereas making an attempt to keep away from such hazards as rock fields, hills, and the steep partitions of Jezero crater.
However the stage is about, and the $2.7 billion Perseverance rover is scheduled to achieve the floor at 3:55 p.m. EST (12:55 p.m. PST) on Thursday, February 18. Protection at NASA’s reside stream, which you’ll be able to watch under, begins at 2:15 p.m. EST (11:15 a.m. PST).
We’ve offered the feed from YouTube, however different channels carrying the printed embody Twitter, Fb, LinkedIn, Twitch, Day by day Movement, Theta.TV, and the NASA App. Spanish audio system can observe the motion right here. Different cool choices embody a clear feed from NASA mission management and a 360-degree stream through YouTube. A post-landing news briefing is scheduled for five:30 p.m. EST (2:30 p.m. PST), which you’ll be able to watch right here.
It takes roughly 11 minutes for radio indicators to journey the space from Mars to Earth, which suggests Perseverance should do that alone. It additionally means we’ll be behind the precise motion on Mars by that period of time, which NASA has adjusted for in its schedule. That stated, Mission controllers “may not be able to confirm these milestones at the times listed… because of the complexity of deep-space communications,” based on NASA.
Perseverance will plow into the Martian environment at speeds reaching 12,100 mph (19,500 km/h) at 3:48 p.m. EST (12:48 p.m. PST). The following seven minutes of terror will contain excessive warmth, the deployment of a supersonic parachute, and the rover’s separation from the warmth defend and again shell. By the point it hits the filth—with the help of retrorockets and tethers—Perseverance may have slowed all the way down to a strolling tempo.
As soon as the crimson mud has settled, Perseverance will take photographs of its environment and transmit them again to Earth. Mission controllers may also assess the well being of the rover, in a course of that’s anticipated to final greater than a month. Throughout this time, Perseverance will deploy its mast, which can lead to much more photos and presumably even a selfie. Mission controllers may also take the time to judge the standing of Ingenuity—a small helicopter introduced alongside for the journey.
Assuming all is effectively, Perseverance will then formally enter into the science stage of the mission, as it is going to seek for indicators of historic microbial life. The rover’s new house, Jezero crater, was as soon as coated in water and fed by a dashing river, making it an excellent setting for this robotic astrobiologist.
Ought to all go effectively, the rover would be the fifth to achieve the Crimson Planet, its predecessors being Sojourner, Spirit, Alternative, and Curiosity. Fingers are firmly crossed that we’re about to witness a historic touchdown and a fruitful subsequent chapter in our ongoing exploration of Mars.