At the end of July 2020, the aerospace agencyNASA has successfully launched the Mars 2020 mission. With the help of the Atlas V launch vehicle, the Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity helicopter were sent from the Cape Canaveral cosmodrome to the Red Planet. The agency has developed such large and complex devices for the first time, and therefore has high hopes for them. The vehicles are expected to reach their destination on February 18, 2021 and descend into the Jezero crater, where rivers and lakes used to be. Perhaps in this area they will be able to find traces of the life of the "Martians" or at least raw materials that can be used in the construction of dwellings for the first colonists. In general, we have a lot of interesting things ahead of us, and to make it easier for people to follow the progress of the mission, the agency launched the Eyes on the Solar System website. Having entered it, you can see at what point in space the capsule with the rover and helicopter is located, and also learn about all route changes.
Where is Perseverance now?
About the new site for tracking locationapparatus of the mission "Mars-2020" was told on the official website of NASA. Upon entering Eyes on the Solar System, users see a cargo capsule containing the aforementioned Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter. The capsule is necessary for the vehicles to safely land on the surface of Mars. If all goes according to plan, next February the capsule will enter the atmosphere of the distant planet at a speed of 20,000 kilometers per hour. The "seven minutes of horror", well-known since the time of the Curiosity and InSight rovers, will begin, during which all people who are not indifferent to the fate of the mission will have to hope that the capsule will not make a mistake and will not break.
According to NASA representatives, the site allowsfollow the Mars 2020 mission in real time. So, before the descent to the surface of the Red Planet, anyone can find out the remaining distance, view the cargo capsule from different sides and, in general, observe its location relative to other planets and spacecraft. You can even view the entire solar system if you wish. To do this, at the bottom of the screen there are buttons "Solar system", "Inner Solar System" and "Outer Solar system", clicking on which changes the scale of the space map. By clicking on the highlighted objects, you can find out detailed information about them.
What is the Perseverance rover made of?
According to the chief developer of systems forJim Bell's Perseverance, the rover is 90% Curiosity parts. But this does not mean that the Mars 2020 mission was cheap for NASA. At the moment, about 2 billion dollars have been invested in the project, and in the future, another 2.7 billion will be spent on it. In addition to collecting devices, a variety of cameras and other standard tools, the rover is equipped with a "Moxie" system for converting carbon dioxide to oxygen. It is expected to initially be able to produce up to six grams of oxygen per hour, while humans need about 20 grams of oxygen per hour to survive. But this will also be an excellent result, because the main thing now is to make sure that the system works. And then it can be improved.
As for the Ingenuity helicopter, its taskso far very simple. NASA employees just need to make sure that flying devices with such a design are capable of working in the conditions of Mars. We can learn about its capabilities next year. It is not worth hoping for success, because the device may not even take off. But it is definitely worth following the progress of the tests. In the future, if the helicopter proves its effectiveness, researchers will be able to use it to study hard-to-reach places on the Red Planet. I wrote about all the advantages of using this device in this article. At that time, the device was at the development stage, and now it is already flying towards Mars. How quickly time passes!
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Also, the Perseverance rover has onerobotic limb. Although designed in the style of Curiosity, this hand is much more complex in structure and intended for more serious tasks. I also wrote about all this earlier, so I recommend you start studying the Perseverance robotic arm right now.