7 Things to Know About Perseverance

It was a historic moment when the Perseverance rover landed its wheels on the lifeless planet Mars. This vehicle was launched in space on July 30, 2020, and it successfully reached its destination on February 18, 2021. It was created by Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and it was a part of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission. However, before we’re stunned by the photos it has taken, there are things to learn about the mission of Percy, its nickname.

Everything about Perseverance is a challenge

After dropping huge investment money for this mission, the rover has to perform a series of science works: meticulously collecting rocks and other samples for an indefinite arrival to Earth, extensive searching for indications of ancient microbial life, indicating Mars’ climate and geology, and being the next extraterrestrial place for human exploration after the Moon.

Just by deciding what will be the rover’s name, NASA had to conduct a “Name the Rover” contest, with 28,000 submissions. Not to mention the adversities brought by the ongoing pandemic.

Crucial lessons from its predecessors

There are already five rovers that set foot on the barren surface of Mars. Credits to Sojourner, which arrived in 1997, we learned that roving the planet is possible, Opportunity and Spirit in 2004, discovered substantial evidence that water once existed before it transformed into a frozen desert, while Curiosity landed in 2012, found in Gale Crater, its landing site, was a lake billions of years ago, with surroundings that potentially sustained microbial life.

The 2020 rover, which is Perseverance, seeks to answer the million-dollar question: Are there any available indications that life existed on Mars?

Presumptions regarding the Perseverance landing site

Though the transport is far different from what a moving company does, the dream destination of the 2020 rover is the Jezero crater, which is 45 kilometers wide and is located in Isidis Planitia’s western edge. This is the place where scientists believe that a space rock hit the surface of the planet, forming a giant basin that might have catered water three or four billion years ago.

Perseverance important mission

Mars orbiter has already gathered images and data 200 miles (322 kilometers) above the Jezero Crater, but a closer look may shed a light on finding life on the planet. That is why the Perseverance rover was built to get the work done. Also, learning the planet’s geology may give us a degree of understanding as to why Earth and Mars are different, considering that they were formed similarly.

Perseverance paves the way

If everything goes as planned, the Perseverance sample-gathering system will bring samples of sediments and rocks for its future return to Earth. The European Space Agency and NASA have been cooking a Mars Sample Return campaign since it’s undeniable that investigating every sample from the said planet is handier here.

Perseverance advance technology

The Terrain-Relative Navigation system installed works like our home security system, as this assists the newest rover of the federal agency to avoid potential hazards at the time of its landing. Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent, and Landing Instrumentation 2 (MEDLI2) sensor suite, on the other hand, has the credit in collecting important information during its trip to the planet’s atmosphere. In case human missions will be made possible in the future, Perseverance also has a specific feature that will perform for a safe landing and explorations on the planet. An instrument that will also give crucial information regarding climate, dust, and weather is being taken care of by the rover’s Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA). Lastly, Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) will work to process the red planet’s carbon dioxide atmosphere into oxygen, which is the key ingredient for sustenance of human life.

23 cameras for picture-taking

In comparison to other interplanetary missions in history, Perseverance is equipped with 23 cameras, more snapping tools than its predecessors. These tools will help the engineers to map Mars’ surface by taking high degree precision images, which will be posted on the mission’s official website. Aside from the numerous lenses, Perseverance also transported three silicon chips with the 11 million people’s names who signed up to come with the Mars 2020 mission.

Photo Sources:

Cover Photo – NASA
Photo 1 – NASA
Photo 2 – NASA
Photo 3 – NASA
Photo 4 – NASA