General, Research, Technology

NASA spoke about the most important instrument of the Perseverance rover

Perseverance landed on Mars inFebruary 2021. Less than a month has passed since landing, and the rover has already begun to perform its main task - the collection of Martian soil. The collected materials will be stored in a special compartment of the rover until a few years later another vehicle arrives for them and takes them to Earth for study in laboratory conditions. Scientists hope that in the mined Martian soil, they will be able to find traces of life that could have existed on Mars millions of years ago. Over the past month, we've written a lot about the design and purpose of the rover, but today we'll talk about something new - the SuperCam toolkit built into it. This is the most important element of the Perseverance apparatus and it is designed to collect most of the information about the Red Planet. Once one of the devices broke down and had to be repaired in a very short time. It turned out that the breakdown did him good ...

SuperCam is one of the most important devices of the Perseverance rover

Perseverance started work on Mars

The start of the Perseverance rover was announced byscientific publication Science Alert. According to Thomas Zurbuchen of NASA's Office of Science Missions (Thomas Zurbuchen), the main part of the spacecraft sent to Mars is a set of SuperCam instruments. It is located on a mast located in the middle of the structure and consists of spectrometers, a laser, a device for recording sounds and studying the chemical composition of Martian soil. The tool kit is comparable in size to a shoebox.

Mars sounds recorded by Perseverance

Perseverance mission leaders shared thatfour months before the rover was launched, the laser was accidentally broken. It was repaired by a team of 500 engineers - the device had to be assembled almost from scratch. During the assembly of the laser, it turned out that initially there was a so-called "Hubble defect" in it. After the launch of the Hubble Telescope in 1990, researchers discovered that there was an aberration in the observatory's main mirror. This is the name of the error in the optical system, due to which the rays are incorrectly refracted and degrade the quality of the image. In the equipment of the rover, such a problem also existed and, thanks to the breakdown of the laser, it was possible to fix it.

The cameras of the Perseverance rover take photos in very high resolution

Read also: Big interview with the creator of the Perseverance rover

Helicopter Ingenuity to explore Mars

Besides the SuperCam toolbox, the roverPerseverance is equipped with a 2 meter robotic arm, multiple cameras and other devices. At the bottom of the craft is a small Ingenuity helicopter, which should take off for the first time between April 19 and May 19, 2021. The experimental aircraft weighs 1.8 kilograms, is solar-powered and can fly for 90 seconds at a time. First of all, scientists want to find out whether such devices can fly in the Martian air at all. If so, in the future, the helicopter will be used for reconnaissance of hard-to-reach areas and planning a route for the rover.

Helicopter Ingenuity

The rover and the helicopter are in the Jezero crater,which has long been of interest to scientists because once upon a time there could have been water in it. Based on this, the chance that scientists will be able to find traces of ancient organisms increases many times over. It is believed that the mission of the Perseverance rover will last about two years, but it is possible that it will last much longer.

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It is important to note that more will land on Mars device - the Chinese rover "Tianwen-1". The descent will be made to the Utopia plain, which has a diameter of approximately 3300 kilometers. This is a relatively flat place, which was formed after the fall of some large object. I talked in more detail about how the Tianwen-1 rover looks and what it is for in this article. Also in this article I told why the Utopia Plain is of such interest to scientists. Enjoy reading!