NASA finally launched its Mars rover on the 30th of July. The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket took off the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 7:50 a.m. This launch was a hitch-free takeoff just as scheduled. The only challenge was a tremor detected at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This lab is the headquarters of the mission and reports that the quake was of a low magnitude and could, therefore, not impede the launch operations.
The Mars rover detached from the Centaur rocket upper body an hour after takeoff with the second burn propelling the rocket to the red Martian planet. The Mars 2020 rocket will deploy this Perseverance Mars rover in Jezero Crater by February next year. This crater is known to have once been lake with a river tributary flowing into it. Researcher-astronauts will be looking for proof of ancient Martian life by studying the rock samples from this crater.
The Mars 2020 deputy project scientist, Katie Stack Morgan, revealed that her team would be looking for patterns, shapes, and rock samples that demand life interference to develop. She said this in a press statement after regurgitation of the mission.
The Perseverance Mars rover is an advanced form of the Curiosity rover. Curiosity rover has been navigating the red planet for the last eight years in a move to understand the nature of the red planet. Matt Wallace, one of the Mars 2020 rocket program managers, reiterated that the Perseverance rover is a modified version of this rover and will be hosting more payloads than the Curiosity rover.
The additional modifications of the Perseverance Mars rover are to make it reliable and efficient in collecting the red planet’s rock samples. This rover will host approximately thirty-six samples in its payloads on the return journey to Earth. NASA is collaborating with the European Space Agency to ensure that this sample collection is possible for an undulate and indiscriminate sample of the rock samples.
Some of the notable adjustments on this rover are as follows: a navigation system that can extrapolate proper landing of the spacecraft according to the image projected on the entrance to Mars. The technicians have also adjusted the wheels of the rover to prevent their malfunction when they clash with rocks.
Additionally, the Perseverance rover is hosting a chopper known as Ingenuity. This chopper is an additional machine whose sole purpose is to conduct test flights on the red planet and study the atmospheric conditions of this planet.
Finally, the project manager of the Ingenuity Mars chopper, Mimi Aung, is exuberant to witness the navigation of this craft through the Martian atmosphere. The developers of this helicopter will be trying it out to see its reliability in operating in this environment.