We have a landing!
Perseverance Rover landed on Mars on Thursday, marking the moment as NASA’s first mission that will search for signs of life. The journey also extended the American record of safe landings.
Mission operators received word from Perseverance that it had entered the Martian atmosphere at a speed of more than 12,000 miles per hour.
The spacecraft was beginning their descent that would bring it to a stop in just seven nail-biting minutes.
The rover spent the last seven months flying the roughly 125-million-mile trek to Mars on a quest to find signs of life.
Perseverance was the third robotic visitor to arrive at the red planet in February. Before Perseverance, two other spacecraft, Hope from the United Arab Emirates and Tianwen-1 from China entered Mars’ orbit.
Landing Just The Beginning For NASA’s Perseverance
Once there, Perseverance will broadcast information, collect rock samples and launch the first interplanetary helicopter. Furthermore, Perseverance will be simultaneously photographing, laser-targeting, and examining targets in the Jezero Crater.
The groundwork for the mission is decades in the making. In the late ’90s, NASA started working to explore signs of water, landing a few rovers at the time.
The first missions were Spirit and Opportunity, both of which landed in 2004 and lasted until about 2010 and 2018.
“We’ve built on all of that knowledge to prepare ourselves now with the Perseverance rover,”Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s planetary science division, said.
Glaze added, “which is going to take that next step — to really, actually look for those signs of life.”
After Percy’s landing, it will difficult for the team back on Earth as they temporarily work on “Mars time” (a Martian day or “sol” of 24 hours, 37 minutes) in an attempt to make the most of the first few weeks on the Mars.
Data will transmit from the rover to the team, which will then need to interpret it to figure out what to do next.
Afterward, scientists will code the data and then forward it to Mars for execution.
“This is a very fast-paced, high-stakes operation. It’s kind of a race to get it done. And it also involves literally hundreds of people having to work together seamlessly. I can tell you, this is not what scientists usually do. Scientists do not usually perform under these kinds of circumstances,” Ken Farley, Perseverance project scientist at the California Institute of Technology, said.