NASA has added another feather in its cap of space exploration as the American Space Agency has begun questing what our 'red' neighbor has got in its soil and beneath. In what has become a remarkable feat of exploring Mars, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has successfully landed its 'Perseverance' rover on the red planet and the rover will be the earth's eye and feet on Mars towards looking for the evidence of the possibilities of life.
The rover has landed in a deep crater near the planet Mars's equator called Jezero. The Perseverance rover, which is the six-wheeled vehicle, will now spend at least the next two years drilling into the local rocks and looking for evidence of past life. The achievement has drawn global significance which displayed how Earth is interested to explore its solar neighbor. Mars has been on the radar of the space agencies on Earth and they are keen on researching the soil and surfaces of the red planet and whether it carries the history of living beings.
One of the strongest factors and reasons why the rover was landed on Jezero is that Jezero is believed to have had a huge lake 3.5 billion years ago. The studies on Mars have shown that the Jezero crater was Jezero lake and there was atmosphere, warmth, and there was ample water. Where there is water, there is life, and with this conclusion, the space agencies believed that their neighbor could have had a life, and the 'Perseverance' rover is born as the result of exploring the possibilities of life on Mars.
Mars had lost its magnetic field and thus 99% of its atmosphere and nearly all of its water, transforming the planet into the frigid desert of what it is today. If there was an early life before the transformation, it could still be there today - in the form of fossilized remains and organic material in the ancient silt of the desiccated lake. This is the important reason why NASA had selected Jezero for its phenomenal and ambitious Mars exploration.
Locking the perfect target, NASA had designed a rover with the enhanced mechanisms and precise technologies to land on the neighbor and after years of works and involvements, the American Space Agency has now successfully landed the rover on its target- which means, we are two years away to know how the red planet looked billions of years ago. As the rover had a successful touchdown, it will take its time before beginning its explorations. Ground controllers on Earth will spend the next month loading and calibrating the software of the rover.
Attached to the rover was a bed-frame-like descent stage containing a cluster of eight retrorockets that lit and slowed the descent above the ground. The rover will be tasked to look for chemical signatures and deposits of fossilized life and it will also drill into the rocks and macro structures on the red planet and transmitting the information back to Earth on what it had found. Mars is 202 million kilometers far from Earth, which means radio transmissions from the rover will take at least eleven minutes to reach us, the Earth. Whatever that we receive from the rover was actually recorded eleven minutes ago.
When it was known that the rover had landed successfully, the engineers at NASA's mission control in Pasadena, California had expressed joy and happiness and they began to celebrate and extend their wishes to each other for achieving the remarkable feat. US President took to Twitter and said, "Congratulations to NASA and everyone whose hard work made Perseverance’s historic landing possible. Today proved once again that with the power of science and American ingenuity, nothing is beyond the realm of possibility."
The happiness after making history was evident when the engineers applaud after the rover had sent its first two images from the red planet. They were taken by low-resolution engineering cameras. Steve Jurczyk, the acting administrator of NASA had saluted the achievement and said, "What a credit to the team. Just what an amazing team to work through all the adversity and all the challenges that go with landing a rover on Mars. Just an amazing accomplishment".
"We did successfully find that parking lot and have a safe rover on the ground. And I couldn't be more proud of my team for doing that", said Allen Chen, who had led the landing team. The Perseverance rover is part of the mission 'Mars 2020' and it was launched on July 30, 2020, and nearly after seven months of travel, the rover has got successfully landed on Mars on February 18, 2021. According to NASA's website, the main job of the rover is to seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and regolith (broken rock and soil) for a possible return to Earth. The rover will be spending at least two years on the red planet.
Congratulations to NASA and everyone whose hard work made Perseverance’s historic landing possible. Today proved once again that with the power of science and American ingenuity, nothing is beyond the realm of possibility. pic.twitter.com/NzSxW6nw4k— President Biden (@POTUS) February 18, 2021
After 203 days and 300 million miles, our @NASAPersevere landed on Mars at 3:55 p.m. EST on Feb. 18. After spending some time checking out its systems, it'll be rolling across the Red Planet, looking for signs of ancient Martian life. https://t.co/3Tr7doXdJS pic.twitter.com/FhwoXz5l4n— NASA (@NASA) February 19, 2021