Success of the launch of Mars 2020, mission to Mars, more ambitious NASA

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Patricia BioscaSEGUIRMadrid Updated: Save Send news by mail electrónicoTu name *

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the Success of the launch of Mars 2020 , a mission that aims to make history and find traces of past life on our neighboring planet. At the scheduled time and no more incidents than a small tremor in Pasadena a few minutes before liftoff, the rocket Atlas V took off from the space complex of the Air Force Cape Canaveral (Florida). A maneuver that has spread from the 13.50 hour Spanish until an hour later, when the second combustion of the rocket has propelled the probe on the way to the red planet , a tour that will take to make about seven months. But the new normal has also entered the event, with a control room less crowded than usual-without the presence of the managers of the instruments on board-, masks on the faces of all the engineers present, and nothing of hugging or approaches. Even so, the applause -although less numerous – and the gestures of victory and satisfaction have signed a historic day.

from now you expect to seven months to reach the martian surface, which will, if all goes according to calculations, the next February 18, 2021. After the known as “ seven minutes of terror , ” in which the ship will have to land autonomously on the martian soil -the delays in communications cause this phenomenon-, will land in the crater, Jezero , 45 kilometers in diameter, north of the equator of the planet, the place where some 4,000 million years believe the scientists that there was a lake.

In fact, this is the main reason why it has been chosen the place: the rivers could have led up to that site, organic molecules or even microorganisms than the rover Perseverance to attempt to discover. Because that is the main goal of the mission: to see that at least in the past, life emerged on Mars, leaving its mark in the form of biomarkers that cutting-edge technology of NASA will now be able to detect.

instruments on board

To do this, the rover, which is the size of a car and a weight of one ton, has seven main instruments. Stands a camera for panoramic images and stereoscopic ( MASTCAM-Z ) to study the minerals and help operate the rover, a sophisticated meteorological station of Spanish production “ Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer ” ( MEDA ); a tool to produce oxygen from carbon dioxide ( MOXIE ); a spectrometer of fluorescence of X-rays to study the composition of surface materials ( PIXL ); a radar capable of penetrating into the subsoil ( RIMXFAX ); a Raman spectrometer of ultraviolet rays ( SHERLOC ), to detect organic molecules and analysis of thin minerals; and the SuperCam, an instrument for imaging, analysis of chemical composition and mineralogy.

it will be the first rover to take samples of the martian soil with the intention of keeping them inside until another mission, scheduled for 2031, pick up the vials and return to Earth to be analyzed.

A unique experiment

And Perseverance even saves another “secret” in its interior, specifically attached to your belly: the helicopter Ingenuity . With a weight of only 1.8 kilos, is a technology demonstration, a project that seeks to prove that flight is possible on other planets. Features a four-bladed carbon fiber arranged in two rotors that rotate in opposite directions to around 2400 rpm, much faster than a helicopter passenger in the Land. It also has solar cells innovative, batteries and other components novel that will attempt to make history on the martian surface. Although it does not carry scientific instruments on board, is an experiment that will open the door to future drones that sobrevolarán Mars in the next missions.

“This is a critical step in our path to send humans to Mars,” says biologist and NASA astronaut Zena Cardman , the mission team Perseverance. “I think this is the most exciting time in space exploration: the fact that we send a rover to Mars as we speak to send humans back to the moon is incredible.” So, the mission Mars 2020 is called to make history. And today has just started its way.

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