Everything has gone as NASA expected it to that The Perseverance rover has landed successfully and according to plan on Mars. The mission took off from Earth on July 30, 2020. Months later, the rover has finally reached the Red Planet and made landfall without apparent problems.
As we have been able to follow live, the landing was successful. The rover unfolded from the spacecraft upon reaching orbit of Mars and began its descent. Being about 12 kilometers high, he opened his parachute to descend gently into the Jezero Crater. The moment it reached meters above the surface, it activated the thrusters and … made landfall.
Perseverance rover is the fifth rover that NASA has sent to Mars, and while NASA has experience with this, landing moments are always crucial. Entering the atmosphere and managing to place a rover millions of kilometers away is not an easy task.
As soon as it landed on Mars, the rover sent its first image from the Martian surface. This first image is usually tiny and helps NASA verify that the rover is safe and sound. In the image, blurred by the Martian dust above the camera, we can see the shadow of the rover on the surface.
Perseverance thus becomes the third mission to arrive on Mars this February 2021. A historic milestone for humanity, which has managed to arrive in less than ten days with a mission from the United Arab Emirates, one from China and one from U.S. As we have seen, Hope from the United Arab Emirates was the first, followed by Tianwen-1 from China and now Perseverance from the United States.
The Perseverance rover: In search of life and with the aim of preparing for the arrival of humans
While the landing of The Perseverance rover on Mars has been a success, the truth is that the Perseverance mission has actually just begun. Once on the Martian surface it is time to start science. The rover is equipped with a total of seven scientific instruments on board that will allow it to collect and analyze samples of Martian regolith and other environmental factors.
In addition to the rover itself, we now have a helicopter called Ingenuity on the surface of Mars. As we saw, it is the first drone/ helicopter to reach the Red Planet and its mission will be to explore from above those areas where the rover itself cannot reach.
The Jezero Crater where Perseverance has arrived is expected to contain traces of frozen water in its interior and, consequently, possible remains of life from the past. Part of Perseverance’s mission is to scan this place for signs of life. But there is more, Perseverance will analyze the Martian environment to serve as a starting point for future manned missions to Mars.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of all is NASA’s long-term plan with Perseverance. It’s actually only a third of a larger mission made up of three trips to Mars to bring samples of the planet back to Earth. Perseverance will collect the samples, a second mission will remove them from Mars and a third mission by the end of the decade will bring them back to Earth. Nobody said space exploration was easy.