The spacecraft "Perseverance" successfully landed yesterday, shortly before 11 pm Greek time on Mars. The goal of this NASA mission is to search for and collect traces of microbial and prehistoric life in the Red Planet, as well as its geological study. This landing on Mars is an important step for humanity and especially for its conquest Space.
The six-wheeled SUV, also known by the nickname "Percy", is slightly larger and heavier than the rover Curiosity who still studies Mars. It has more advanced scientific instruments, capable of more ambitious ones experiments, being the most advanced astrobiology laboratory to date sent to another celestial body. After tools will collect Martian specimens, which will be returned to Earth on a future mission, which, if it happens, will be a world first.
The "Perseverance" entered the atmosphere at a speed of 20.000 km / h and landed on the Jezero crater on Mars. It is a large crater, which was once an ancient lake and river delta and where it is considered more likely to have existed life billions of years ago, when Mars was warmer, wetter and probably hospitable to life. The specially designed parachute in combination with the mechanically controlled descent, reduced the speed of the boat to 3 kilometers per hour, so that it touches with safety on the surface of the Red Planet. Among other things, the rover has an experimental device that will convert Martian atmosphere carbon dioxide into pure oxygen, as well as a mini weather station, 19 cameras and two microphones that will record the first Martian sounds. Also the rover will release the Ingenuity, a small robotic 1,8 kg helicopter, the first in history to fly to another world.
But before all this happened, it took "seven minutes of horror," as NASA describes them, to make sure that the rover, which made a seven-month space journey of 470 million kilometers, landed safely on the surface of Mars. The mission's Control Center experienced these "seven minutes of terror" during the landing, without being able to intervene in an emergency, and the signal would take more than 11 minutes to reach the neighboring planet. The Red Planet has a bad reputation in space history, as landing attempts have failed most of the time.
"Perseverance" is the fifth rover that USA send to Mars.
In the NASA control room at California, applause erupted when the vehicle parachute opened, and celebrations when, a few minutes later, the robotic vehicle landed on Mars' Jezero Crater. Immediately after, the exact position of the vehicle and the first ones were transmitted to Earth pictures from the surface of Mars.
The Perseverance was the third spacecraft to land on Mars in the past month, after being sent by the United Arab Emirates and China.