The 3-by-5-inch aluminum plate, installed on the left side of the rover chassis, shows the Earth supported by the ancient symbol of the snake entwined around a rod to represent the global medical community. A line represents the rover’s trajectory from central Florida to Mars, according to NASA.
“We wanted to show our gratitude to those who put their personal well-being on the line for the good of others,” said Matt Wallace, of the Perseverance assistant project manager at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California , in a press release.
“It is our hope that future generations travel to Mars and arrive on our rover, they will be reminded that back on Earth in the year 2020 there were these people. ”
When Alexandre Mather, a seventh-year student, in Virginia, entered his submission to a national competition last year in the name of the rover, a pandemic was not on the horizon. But its winning entry for Perseverance turned out to be the perfect name for an unprecedented launch rover over time.
“The team has never wavered in their pursuit of the launch pad,” said Michael Watkins, director of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in a statement. “It is thanks to their dedication and the help of other NASA facilities that we have done so far. ”
The launch window opens on July 20 and extends until August 11, in case of bad weather or other problems to avoid the 9:15 am ET launch on July 20. This date has been projected since the rover announced, in December 2012.
But the launch during this window is essential during a time when the planet Mars and the Earth are on the same side of the sun, otherwise the craft could be delayed launch for two years, until September 22 .
The delay will cost the agency $ 500 million and the long-term impact of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program targets, according to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
“I hope people watch this mission and are inspired that we can aim and achieve, even in the midst of difficult times,” he said at a NASA press conference on Wednesday.
July 20 has another meaning; it was when NASA, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first man to walk on the moon.
“Fifty-one years ago, NASA has been deep in the final preparations for the first moon landing,” Bridenstine said. “Today we are on the threshold of another great moment in exploration: collecting samples from Mars.
“As we celebrate the hero of the Apollo 11 mission today, future generations may well recognize the women and men of Perseverance, not only for what they will achieve 100 million miles from home, but for what they were able to accomplish this world on the launch road. “
News first on Mars
Perseverance is targeted at the Earth in March Jezero Crater, February 18, 2021. The crater is 28 kilometers wide, and the site of a lake that existed 3.5 billion years ago. Traces of the river delta can be seen in the images captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter probe. And the rover may be able to find signs of ancient life in this fascinating location on Mars.
“The mission has a launch, 314 million kilometers from interplanetary space and seven minutes of terror to get safely to the surface of Mars,” said Lori Vitrage, director of NASA planetary science division, in a press release. “When we see the scenery at Jezero Crater for the first time and we really start to realize the bounty scientists before us, the fun really begins. ”
Perseverance is the heaviest payload NASA will ever have landed on Mars, if all goes as planned, and its parachute system has passed rigorous tests to ensure it can land the 1 ton rover metric.
It will be NASA’s ninth spacecraft to visit the Martian surface, but it is the first to collect samples for return to Earth by future missions.
Perseverance will have carrots of rock and regolith, or broken rocks and dust, using its Example Caching System, “the most complex and cleanest mechanism ever sent into the space, “according to NASA. It was imperative that the system be clean so there is no confusion about all the potential of Perseverance biosignatures can find and collect.
The system of storing samples in metal tubes deposited at the site collection across the crater. Later, the missions will recover these and return them to Earth within 10 years from now, an effort complex that will be the result of NASA in partnership with the European Space Agency.
Using a set of scientific instruments, Perseverance will also be the study and characterization of Mars, “climate and geology. The experiments on the rover will also help you prepare, eventually, for the land of humans on Mars.
Perseverance is also armed with 23 cameras, most of which will be able to capture color images and even high-definition video. The cameras will be active during the entry, descent and landing rover.
“We’re going to be able to watch this big parachute inflate and watch the rover deploy and touch down,” Wallace said. “It is the first time that we have ever been able to see an Earth spacecraft on another planet. “
Video is not available in real time for NASA tuning folks monitoring the data rover during entry, descent and landing. But it will be presented in the weeks after landing.
“The first priority will be data on how the rover is doing after landing, but hopefully the video in the weeks after touchdown,” said Andrew Bonne, JPL media relations specialized. “The data will be back in the pieces from several orbiters, which are of course shared by our other missions in the field, Curiosity and Insight. ”
The rover also carries a couple of microphones, which will also be active during entry, descent and landing. The rover teams look forward to hearing the sounds of the wheeled rover on the Martian surface and the sound of the wind on Mars.
“I am happy to hear the sounds of Mars and the sounds of the rover interacting with its environment,” said Katie Pile Morgan, project assistant scientist at JPL. She also suggested that interesting science could be explained by the sounds that they are going to be able to hear that the laser rover is intended for rocks.
And tucked under the rover on its journey to Mars is Ingenuity, which will be the first helicopter to fly on Mars or any planet in our solar system outside of Earth. The helicopter is scheduled for three test flights during its time on Mars.
It is considered a demonstration of the payload, which means that NASA can learn a lot from this experience and apply it to future missions. And Perseverance will be able to picture the ingenuity that it is flying over Mars, capturing flight history on another planet.