NASA’s Perseverance rover is about to guide itself to the surface of Mars in the most precise landing operation yet undertaken.
Every process must take place without error and precisely on time, in order for the landing to succeed.
The descent is scheduled to take place today on the 18th February 2021 at 3:55 pm American Eastern Standard Time.
Perseverance will be the fifth rover to land on the red planet. The spacecraft is on target to touch down in Jezero Crater. It’s mission will be to scientifically discover whether there were ever any lifeforms on the surface of Mars.
“Jezero Crater is the most challenging Martian terrain ever targeted for a landing”.
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters
It’s landing day for Perseverance and all eyes are on the Red Planet.
The rover spent the last seven months flying the roughly 125-million-mile (202 million kilometers) distance to Mars on a quest to find signs of ancient life. Later today (Feb. 18), the mission will begin a daring “seven minutes of terror“-type descent, and if all goes well, its wheel touchdown will signal the beginning of the most powerful rover yet to roam the Martian surface.
Perseverance will broadcast information back in high-definition 4K, set aside promising rock samples for a sample-return mission and launch the first interplanetary helicopter — all the while photographing, laser-targeting and investigating targets in the ancient delta of Jezero Crater.
A new Mars Rover named Perseverance will land on the surface of Mars in February 2221, after a seven-month flight through space.
Attached to the underbelly of the space craft will be a small helicopter named Ingenuity. Ingenuity will be able to overcome Mars gravity and fly over the surface of Mars like a drone and return visual images. This will be the first test of powered flight on Mars.
The purpose of the mission will be to investigate key questions about the possible existence of life on Mars. Perseverance will examine the past Martian environment and look for signs of ancient microbes amongst the intriguing rocks of a crater named Jezero.
The robotic machine will drill into the rocks and collect soil samples using new technology. After examining the samples, it will set them aside so that a future mission will be able to bring them back to Earth.
“The Most Powerful Rocket Ever Built in Human History”… the rocket that will take humans to the Moon and beyond.
At NASA’s Michoud Assembly facility, located in New Orleans
and known as “America’s Rocket Factory”, sits the largest rocket built since
the Apollo Program. The construction
phase is now complete and on 9th December 2019, Jim Bridenstine, NASA
Administrator, revealed the 212-foot rocket core stage. This rocket will become the power source that
will project the first Artemis mission into space.
The rocket will form part of the “Space Launch System” that
will provide the power for Astronauts of the future to travel to destinations
far into the solar system and explore other worlds close-up.
NASA is now working towards the exciting goal of landing the first woman on the Moon by 2024, just four years away.
Dr. Christyl Johnson is NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre’s
deputy director for technology and research investments. She manages the research
and development portfolio and is responsible for formulating future technology
goals and leading an integrated program of investments aligned to meet those
In a recent visit to
Australia, Dr Johnson was asked about Australia’s role in NASA’s resurgent
Space Program which includes putting the first woman on the moon as well as
manned exploration of the planet Mars.
Returning to the moon will involve “bringing all the best
and brightest ideas to the table at the same time. When you bring all the resources together,
there is nothing that’s impossible.”
Australia’s Involvement in exploring space
Australia has been involved since the beginning of the
Apollo program and has many opportunities to contribute.
We now have laser communications that will make it possible
for large amounts of data to be streamed back from Mars. As we explore the caves and tunnels on Mars,
children on Earth will be able to observe in real time.
How difficult will it be to build a space industry in Australia?
Dr Johnson says that Australia has many start-up companies that will have opportunities to direct their research and productivity towards the space program.
Dr Johnson says that the program will open up “a whole world of possibilities.”
Prime Minister, Scott Morrison has announced that $150 million dollars will be
set aside as a commitment by Australia to support the planned US mission to Mars.
attending a State Dinner with US President Trump, Scott Morrison visited Nasa
on 20th September 2019 and took the opportunity to make the
announcement that the commitment will strengthen the ties between Australian
business and NASA.
investment in Australian business and technology will support NASA’s plans to
launch expeditions to both the moon and to Mars.
said that Australian businesses and researchers have “immense knowledge and
capabilities in projects that can support NASA’s Moon to Mars mission, such as
Project Artemis and the Lunar Gateway”. He went on
to state that…
“The Australian Space Agency will work closely with Nasa to identify how they can best support their missions, after the signing of a joint statement of intent on expanding cooperation”.