Thursday, February 18, 2021

The day of #perseverance. #CountdownToMars

Today is the big day: Tonight Perseverance will land on Mars!

The mission isn’t just about the rover. The latter also carries the small helicopter Ingenuity, which will serve as a technological demonstration to test whether it is possible to fly in the Martian atmosphere. It will be the first man-made object to fly over the surface of another planet!

During its mission the drone will try to perform at least five flights lasting at least 90 seconds. It will fly at a height of about five meters above the surface, moving at most a few tens of meters away from the rover.

Mars is very different from Earth. For example, its atmosphere is much less dense than that of our planet: to be able to fly then the rotors of the helicopter will have to move at a speed of 3000 rpm. Mars also does not have a magnetic field like Earth. Ingenuity will not be able to use a compass to navigate during the flight, but will instead rely on the position of the Sun.

Yesero Crater is a very special place. Six-wheeled Perseverance will investigate it as a robotic geologist. If all goes well, by the end of its first Martian year on the surface - just under two years on Earth - the rover will have traveled more than 15 kilometers and collected a precious set of samples, which it will then drop onto Martian earth, where future spacecraft may one day collect them - this will be the first attempt to return the Martian rocks to Earth.

Watch the landing on https://www.freeastroscience.com/p/free-tv.html

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