Mars has been the most loved planet by the scientists to feed their curiosity to find life beyond Earth.
And many missions since the past century have revealed some of the most amazing secrets of the Red Planet. We now know that Mars once had a life-sustainable environment. But there are still a ton of secrets to be revealed.
Well, NASA and ESA have joined hands to dig deeper. NASA will be sending the ‘Perseverance’ rover to the Red Planet’s surface to reveal its ancient life.
Perseverance rover by NASA…
The Mars 2020 rover, Perseverance is a laboratory on wheels just like Curiosity. It is roughly the size of an average car, about 7ft tall, 9ft wide, & 10ft long, and weighs about a ton.
Its main purpose is to explore the geologically diverse landing site, to search for the proof of ancient life on the planet by collecting and analyzing the soil and rock samples which will then be sealed and stored within the Geologically sampling tubes to return them to Earth for further studies in the future and to experiment the latest technology developed to aid future robotic and human exploration of the Red Planet.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
What will the rover carry…?
Perseverance rover will have the most advanced technologies onboard to roam and study Mars. In fact, it will be the most upgraded rover of all time.
> Mars Helicopter: A tech demo helicopter named Ingenuity is strapped to the rover to fly to Mars. When the rover is on its wheels safely, it will deploy ‘Ingenuity’ to make its 1st tour in the air of the Red Planet.
If this technology demonstration goes as planned, it will be the 1st time ever for mankind to power flight on another world. The experimental test flights will be performed for 30-Martian-days and will be performed in 2021
> SuperCam: It is a superadvanced instrument used to capture images, analyze the chemical composition of a sample.
> PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry): It is an X-ray fluorescence, spectrometer, and high-resolution imager designed to decipher the elemental composition secrets of the Martian soil in a new detailed way like never before.
> SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals): It will be the 1st UV Raman spectrometer that will land on Mars, it is built to deliver the fine-tuned images. SHERLOC uses an ultraviolet laser to map the organic compounds and mineralogy. It also has a High-Resolution color camera for detailed microscopic imaging of the Red Planet’s Surface.
> MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment): It is a new technology developed by NASA to burn rocket fuel while returning back from Mars. This experiment is to produce oxygen from Martian atmospheric Co2. If successful, this will be a milestone in Rocket-science for Mars exploration.
> MEDA (Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer): It is a bunch of sensors built to provide the readings of wind speed, temperature, direction, pressure, humidity, and dust shape & size.
> RIMFAX (The Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment): It is a surface-piercing radar that will provide data of the geological structure of the subsurface.
> Mastcam-Z: It is an advanced image-capturing system with stereoscopic, panoramic, and zooming capacity. It acts as a main eye to the Perseverance rover during operation.
Perseverance rover will also test its ‘Terrain Relative Navigation’, its latest autopilot technology.
When is the launch of the Perseverance rover…?
The launch of this 1st stage of the Mars mission is scheduled between July 17 – August 5th, 2020.
It will be launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V541 Rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
The Perseverance rover will touch the Mars’ surface on February 18, 2021, in the Jezero Crater. Researchers are hoping to stay on schedule amid the ongoing pandemic.
Check out the timeline of Mars exploration…