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NASA lands Perseverance rover on the Mars floor, carrying the first helicopter for another planet


NASA efficiently landed its fifth robotic rover, Perseverance, on the floor of Mars on Thursday after its six-month voyage from Earth.

“Touchdown confirmed,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory mission management mentioned at 3:55 p.m. ET. “Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking the sands of past life.”

The rover is the most technologically superior robotic NASA has ever despatched to Mars. The company goals to spend practically two years utilizing it to discover the floor. NASA spent about $2.four billion to construct and launch the Perseverance mission, with another $300 million in prices anticipated for touchdown and working the rover on the Mars floor.

Based on its predecessor Curiosity, which reached Mars in August 2012 and remains to be in operation, the Perseverance rover was constructed by NASA’s JPL in California. Multiple corporations contributed to elements of the spacecraft, akin to the Lockheed Martin-built warmth defend, Aerojet Rocketdyne-built rocket thrusters and the Maxar Technologies-built robotic arm.

Perseverance can also be carrying a small helicopter named Ingenuity, which NASA plans to make use of to try the first flight on another planet.

Engineers observe the first driving take a look at for NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover in a clear room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, on Dec. 17, 2019.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

The rover, about the dimension of a small automobile, weighs about 1 ton and is 10 toes lengthy by 9 toes broad by 7 toes tall. It has a robotic arm that reaches about 7 toes, the finish of which has a robotic “hand” that has a digital camera, a chemical analyzer and a rock drill. Perseverance is nuclear powered, with a plutonium generator offered by the U.S. Department of Energy to generate electrical energy for its pair of lithium-ion batteries.

Perseverance traveled 293 million miles to succeed in Mars over the course of greater than six months after it launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on July 30.

Sticking the touchdown

Perseverance’s mission

The rover is filled with cameras to seize its expedition and chock stuffed with scientific devices to measure the planet’s geology and accumulate samples that NASA goals to someday return to Earth.

NASA plans to drive Perseverance round the floor for one Martian yr, which is equal to 687 days on Earth.

It has seven main devices for all kinds of functions: the Mastcam-Z; the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer, or MEDA; the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment, or MOXIE; the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry, or PIXL; the Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment, or RIMFAX; the Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals, or SHERLOC, and the SuperCam.

The rover additionally has a pattern caching system, which has 9 totally different drill bits and lots of pattern assortment tubes to seize items of the Mars floor.

“Perseverance is the first rover to bring a sample caching system to Mars that will package promising samples for return to Earth by a future mission,” NASA mentioned in a press launch. “Rather than pulverizing rock the way Curiosity’s drill does, Perseverance’s drill will cut intact rock cores that are about the size of a piece of chalk and will place them in sample tubes that it will store until the rover reaches an appropriate drop-off location on Mars.”

NASA hopes to return the samples as a part of a marketing campaign in partnership with the European Space Agency a while in the future.

The rover is designed to cowl extra floor than another robotic despatched to Mars earlier than. NASA designed Perseverance to drive a median of 650 toes per Martian day, which is near the longest drive beforehand accomplished in a day at 702 toes by NASA’s Opportunity rover.

Aiming for first flight on another planet

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