NASA Mars Rover mission Perseverance has landed safely and is transmitting data

lizkat

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Update: Perseverance has landed and is transmitting data from the surface of Mars.


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The USA's latest Mars Rover mission approaches a critical moment: setting its most sophisticated lander yet on the surface.



NASA describes this as an astrobiology mission. Perseverance has instruments that might detect structures consistent with ancient life on the Red Planet. Or those instruments might detect nothing remotely suggestive of life. Either way, NASA wants the soil samples back for study in laboratories, hoping to answer fundamental questions about life in the solar system and beyond. Finding a second data point for life would be one of the greatest discoveries in the history of science.

But first the engineers have to pull off the EDL — the entry, descent and landing. It is the hardest part of the mission, fraught with opportunities for what aerospace engineers call “a bad day.” The EDL requires a heat shield, a parachute, rocket thrusters and a sky crane that finally lowers the rover to the surface. All these things have to work with exquisite precision and entirely autonomously.





schematic - Perseverance  Mars rover.jpg
 
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lizkat

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Clip of some of the NASA Mars mission crew celebrating at moment of touchdown by Perseverance,


Not least on the minds of the NASA beancounters is that they've once again landed a couple billion dollars' worth of ingenuity on another planet in one piece, wheels intact and cameras rolling.

Speaking of ingenuity, this mission's payload includes a 4-lb drone helicopter named... yeah, Ingenuity.
 

dogslobber

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Clip of some of the NASA Mars mission crew celebrating at moment of touchdown by Perseverance,


Not least on the minds of the NASA beancounters is that they've once again landed a couple billion dollars' worth of ingenuity on another planet in one piece, wheels intact and cameras rolling.

Speaking of ingenuity, this mission's payload includes a 4-lb drone helicopter named... yeah, Ingenuity.
I must confess I never doubted they wouldn't make it a success. When it comes to the crunch I believe NASA always delivers.
 

lizkat

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I must confess I never doubted they wouldn't make it a success. When it comes to the crunch I believe NASA always delivers.


Still, Murphy's Law sometimes finds a home. I'm really impressed that they got that thing landed where they wanted to be able to explore, letting the craft's toolbox sort out the best place to land in the target zone after it got a close look. The region chosen is apparently a great place to hunt for signs of previous life but maybe not someplace you're really keen on having to park Rover in shape to do the hunting.

From a Washington Post piece: "The terrain is full of stuff the scientists want to see and I don’t want to land on,” said Allen Chen, the head of the entry, descent and landing team.

One can only imagine. Nonetheless, they did it.

Man, that thing must have millions of parts in it and some amazing software. Picture perfect landing seven months and 292.5 million miles from home base. Rigorous quality assurance, "it just works" lol. Nah, it takes true dedication. I've owned a few bread toasters that didn't last seven months.
 

Zoidberg

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Still, Murphy's Law sometimes finds a home.
Always a good time to remember the Soviet Venera program, when they sent four consecutive missions where the camera lens cap didn't release, and during Venera 14, when it finally released, it fell right under the probe that had to test the surface. 😂
 
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