The biggest, most advanced Mars rover ever constructed-a car-sized spacecraft bristling with cameras, microphones, drills and lasers-blasted off on Thursday as part of an ambitious, long-range mission to carry back to Earth the first Martian rock samples to be studied as evidence of ancient existence. NASA’s Perseverance rode a powerful Atlas V rocket into a clear morning sky during the summer’s third and final Mars launch. Last week, China and the United Arab Emirates had a head start but all three missions will hit the red planet in February after a 7-month and 480-million-kilometer trip.
The plutonium-powered, six-wheeled rover would dig down and gather tiny geological specimens to be carried home in a kind of interplanetary relay race involving several spacecraft and countries in about 2031. The overall cost: more than US$ 8bn ($11.2bn). In addition to raising the issue of life-on-Mars, the project would include lessons that will pave the way for the astronauts to arrive as early as the 2030s.
The US, the only country to legally put a spacecraft on Mars, is seeking its ninth successful landing on the planet, which has proven to be the space exploration Bermuda Triangle, with more than half of the world ‘s missions burning, crashing or otherwise ending in failure. China sends a rover an orbiter to both. A newcomer to outer space, the UAE has an orbiter underway. It is the biggest mars stampede in the history of spacefaring. When the planets are on the same side of the sun and almost as close as they can be, the chance to travel between Earth and Mars comes around just once every 26 months.
Launch controllers were wearing masks and sat apart at the Cape Canaveral control centre due to the coronavirus outbreak that kept hundreds of scientists as well as other team members away from the launch of Perseverance.
If all goes well, on February 18, 2021, the rover will descend to the Martian surface. It is in what NASA calls seven minutes of terror. Thus, in which the craft goes from 19,300 km / h to a complete halt. Also, without any human interference at all. It carries 25 cameras and a pair of microphones, which will allow Earthlings to tag along vicariously. Perseverance must shoot for dangerous unexplored territory: Jezero Crater. It is a rocky expanse littered with rocks, cliffs, dunes. Also, probably microbe-bearing rocks from what was once a lake more than 3 billion years ago. The rover must store half-ounce (15-gram) rock samples in hundreds of titanium tubes which super-sterilize.
This will also release a mini-helicopter attempting the first powered flight on another planet. Also, test other technologies to pave the way for potential astronauts. Thus, including oxygen extraction equipment from the thin carbon-dioxide atmosphere of Mars. The intention is to launch a dune buggy in 2026 for NASA and the European Space Agency. It is to collect the rock samples, along with a rocket ship to bring the rocks in orbit around Mars. The orbiting samples collect by another spacecraft and taken home.
According to NASA ‘s original and now-retired Mars czar, Scott Hubbard, samples actually brought home from Mars. It is from meteorites discover on Earth, long consider the “Holy Grail of Mars science.”
The samples examine by the best electron microscopes and other instruments. It is far too large to fit on a spacecraft, he said. Also, to certainly address the deep question of whether life exists – or ever existed – beyond Earth.
There are also two other NASA landers working on Mars: InSight in 2018 and Curiosity rover in 2012. Six other spacecraft are orbiting the planet: three from the US, two from Europe, one from India.