After the UAE and Chinese ships arrived in the orbit of Mars, it is now the Americans’ turn. After the “seven minutes of terror”, the Americans will directly enter the orbit of Mars. Wanderer Relentlessly search for the remains of the Red Planet. We resolved common questions about this new NASA mission.
1. Why are there so many missions to Mars now?
Because they appear at the same time, they take advantage of the opportunity of a launch “window” that occurs every 26 months, in which the distance between the Earth and Mars is small. This simplifies operations, saves fuel, and therefore saves costs when transporting ships to the Red Planet.That window opens very late July 2020: On the 19th, the probe took off hope UAE, Chinese battleship on the 23rd Tianwen-1 Then at 30 Wanderer perseverance Task Mars 2020 American.
Now 9, 10 and February 18.Unfortunately Wanderer European and Russian missions Mars alienThe plane, which was originally scheduled to take off last summer and is now arriving, failed to fulfill its wish, so it must wait for the next window to open in 2022.
2. What is the difference between the current three tasks?
Detect hope Emirates will orbit Mars for one year (two Earths) on Mars to study its meteorology.China Tianwen-1 It will also maintain an orbiter, but in addition, starting in May, it will be Wanderer, He will come down from the platform to explore the Utopia Planitia area, where there is ice water below.For its part, the U.S. mission is about to deploy perseverance, Motor vehicle The largest and most complex product ever Land on another planet with another method
The UAE Hope Probe, China’s Tiawen-1 mission (with orbiter, “lander” and rover) and American perseverance. /MBRSC/WX Wan etc.-Natural Astronomy/NASA/JPL-Caltech
3. Or the persevering “Seven Minutes of Horror”?
Yes, with Wanderer Curiosity and Insight module, because it works well. NASA engineers say it takes 7 minutes for the spacecraft to automatically decelerate from flight 19500km/h Those enter the Martian atmosphere until approximately 3km/h It perches on its surface.
Since it takes about 11 minutes for the radio signal to reach the earth (longer than the duration of the entire descent), commands cannot be managed in real time, so all stages are perfectly programmed and synchronized: Navigation phase Or cruise, enter the atmosphere, deploy parachute Diameter 21.5 m, release Insulation board, Activate new TRN solution (Terrain relative navigation) To detect the best landing point, housing of Wanderer, A system crane (Skycrane) Take off the hook and finally put it on the floor, and Skycrane Activate its thrusters to disengage and crash perseverance.
A critical moment in the “7 Minutes of Horror” where Perseverance landed. /NASA/JPL-Caltech
The camera and microphone will record images and sounds throughout the descent. If everything goes well, 21:55 hours (Spanish peninsula time) February 18, This Wanderer It will take place on Mars, but any minor errors or unexpected weather events (such as sandstorms) could frustrate the plan: the landing may be more violent than expected, or in a different place than expected. In addition to other media and institutions, NASA broadcasted the event in Spanish for the first time.
4. Where will you land?
In the crater of Jezero, about 50 kilometers in diameter, is located in the equatorial zone of Mars.
Scientists believe that this place was submerged by water millions of years ago: it was a lake, and the river was flowing there. It carries clay compounds that tend to capture and retain organic matter, so the delta is a good place to find the remains of Mars (if any).
Real images of the ancient delta of Jezero Crater captured by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and recreational activities of the lake that may have covered this crater after water was injected and discharged billions of years ago. / NASA / JPL-Caltech / ASU
5. What is the goal of perseverance?
The main thing is Looking for evidence of ancient microbial life On mars, Especially in the rock known for its ability to preserve biological remains for a long time, but the perseverance with six wheels will also explore a novel environment and sample it.
This will be The first task of collecting and storing rocks And the boulders (small debris, dust and sand on the surface) reborn from Martian soil may return to Earth in future missions.Besides Wanderer Characterize the earth’s geology, current and past climate, its habitability conditions, and Will pave the way for subsequent robot and human exploration.
6. How many scientific instruments does it carry?
Seven, And in the development of the two of them (MEDA and SuperCam), they participated in Spanish Studies Center. They will jointly serve the mission goals by conducting unprecedented experiments and testing new technologies. these are:
Mastcam-Z: The camera system captures panoramic, stereo and zoom images (Arizona State University).
Super camera-Instruments equipped with cameras, lasers and spectrometers can remotely analyze the chemical and mineral composition of compounds (including organic compounds). For example, you can check samples, such as the tip of a pencil at seven meters.It is in collaboration with the French IRAP Institute and University of Valladolid, It has developed its calibration system.
PTFE-X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, which can accurately analyze the chemical composition of Mars surface materials (NASA’s JPL laboratory).
Sherlock-Raman spectrometer with ultraviolet laser can detect organic compounds and other substances. It includes a high-resolution camera for color microscopy images of Martian soil (also from JPL).
Moses: Experiment to produce oxygen from carbon monoxide2 pcs Martian. If successful, this will be a way for astronauts to generate fuel on Mars and return to Earth (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
Mida: Weather station Made in Spain With sensors, it can measure temperature, wind speed and direction, pressure, relative humidity, solar radiation, and the size and shape of dust. The lead researcher is José Antonio Rodríguez-Manfredi from Spain Astrobiology Center (CSIC-INTA).
RIMFAX: A generator of radar images under the surface of Mars, providing centimeter-level resolution of underground geological structures (Norwegian National Defense Research Institute).
Rover instrument diagram. /NASA
In addition to seven instruments, Wanderer count Hole punch (Core drill), One Retroreflective laser Made in Italy (similar to those left by astronauts on the moon, which will help to locate it from space in the future), Sample tank (Coaching system) The location where sand or rocks collected on the surface of Mars will be stored and sealed in a tube Bring them to the earth of the upcoming NASA missionAnd small creativity of helicóptero.
7. What will the helicopter do?
It is a technical demonstrator of persistent “belly” travel. The originality will be the first airplane to fly on another planet in a controlled manner. This is an independent task with high risks but also potential rewards.
If the small spacecraft has difficulty, the scientific data collection of the main mission will not be affected, but if it is flown as designed, in addition to providing high-resolution images of the red planet from an unprecedented angle (as if it were a drone Same), can be used as a reference for future projects.The upcoming mission to Mars may turn Helicopter The second generation adds air size to your exploration.
8. How old Wanderer?
Is the size and weight of the car 1,025 kg. It is about 3 meters long, 2.7 meters wide and 2.2 meters high. Its structure and the structure of its related equipment (navigation stage, descending stage and heat shield) are based on the design of its predecessor. Wanderer curiosity Keep exploring The surface of Mars.
9. How much did the task cost?
according to Planetary society, An international organization dedicated to promoting space exploration and dissemination, the cost of “Mars 2020 Perseverance” It is estimated In some US$2.7 billionIncluding at least 2,200 for spacecraft development, 243 for launch, and 300 for scientific operations, at least during this period Two years (a Martian year) Operation Wanderer.
10. Why is it called Perseverance?
The name was suggested by a 13-year-old high school student, Alexander Mather, Is the winner of the school competition”name Wanderer“, named by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to name the mission. The person in charge of the agency believes that “persistence” (persistence in Spanish, “Percy” in lowercase) is a good example of The spirit of space exploration.
The finalists of the competition and the names and surnames of the 10,932,295 people participating in the other sports are called “Send your name to Mars”Recorded on three silicon chips, which will fly to the red planet on the Perseverance.
A plate with three microchips engraved with the names of more than ten million ground “explorers” and student papers. /NASA