Text adapted from «NASA Science Mars Exploration Program«
The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover mission is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the Red Planet.
The mission addresses high-priority science goals for Mars exploration, including key questions about the potential for life on Mars. Perseverance takes the next step by not only seeking signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past, but also searching for signs of past microbial life itself. The rover introduces a drill that can collect core samples of the most promising rocks and soils and set them aside in a «cache» on the surface of Mars. A future mission could potentially return these samples to Earth. That would help scientists study the samples in laboratories with special room-sized equipment that would be too large to take to Mars. NASA is collaborating with its various centers and the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop the advanced technologies and hardware needed for this Mars Sample Return Campaign.
Perseverance also provides opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars. These include testing a method for producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, identifying other resources (such as subsurface water), improving landing techniques, and characterizing weather, dust, and other potential environmental conditions that could affect future astronauts living and working on Mars.
Perseverance is not alone. The mission includes the Mars Helicopter Ingenuity, a technology demonstration to test powered, controlled flight on another world for the first time. Once the rover reached a suitable «airfield» location, it released Ingenuity to the surface so it could perform a series of test flights over a 30-Martian-day experimental window. For the first flight on April 19, 2021, Ingenuity took off, climbed to about 3 meters above the ground, hovered in the air briefly, completed a turn, and then landed. It was a major milestone: the very first powered, controlled flight in the extremely thin atmosphere of Mars, and, in fact, the first such flight in any world beyond Earth. After that, the helicopter successfully performed additional experimental flights of incrementally farther distance and greater altitude.
Perseverance was launched on July 30, 2020 at 11:50 UTC1 from Cape Canaveral in Florida and landed on Mars on February 18, 2021 at 20:56 UTC.
16 de septiembre de 2022