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Space & Astronomy

Perseverance rover is on target for Mars landing

By T.K. Randall
February 17, 2021 · Comment icon 33 comments

Good luck Perseverance. Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
NASA's car-sized rover is currently lined up perfectly for its nail-biting and dramatic descent onto Mars tomorrow.
Hot on the heels of China's Tianwen-1 and the UAE's Hope spacecraft, Perseverance - the successor to NASA's still-active Mars Curiosity rover - is about to arrive at its destination.

Having launched on July 20th, 2020, the rover - which is carrying an array of sophisticated scientific instrumentation and even a drone that can fly around in the Martian skies - will reach Mars tomorrow.

Like its predecessor, it will undertake what is often referred to as 'seven minutes of terror' - a rapid, make-or-break descent through the Martian atmosphere beginning 100km above the planet.

At this point, it will have less than 400 seconds to reduce its speed from 12,000mph to just 1m/s - a feat achieved by first using a supersonic parachute, then NASA's 'Skycrane' system that will use 8 rockets to slow the rover down as it nears the ground.

Once it gets close enough, the rover will be lowered onto the surface using nylon cords. These will then detach and the Skyscrane will fly away to avoid landing on and damaging the vehicle.
While all this is going on, the engineers and scientists at NASA will be waiting with bated breath for the signal to come back indicating that the landing has been a success.

If the rover survives, it will begin its primary mission to seek out signs of primitive alien life on Mars.

The landing itself should take place at 3:55 p.m. EST / 8:55 p.m. GMT.

NASA will also be hosting a live-streamed event in the run-up to the landing.

Update: Perseverance has successfully made it onto the surface of Mars!

Source: BBC News | Comments (33)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #24 Posted by Myles 3 years ago
Congrats to NASA.   An amazing feat.   
Comment icon #25 Posted by L.A.T.1961 3 years ago
Yes I missed out the Million km after the 204,500. I was deciding whether to put in extra noughts or write million and in the end didn't do either.  
Comment icon #26 Posted by toast 3 years ago
It will, of that I`m sure, because the Americans can build such stuff very very well (but they cant build cars, duck&cover )
Comment icon #27 Posted by stevewinn 3 years ago
once you've seen one you've seen them all, boring as a spectacle, look forward to the science discoveries and pictures to come.
Comment icon #28 Posted by spartan max2 3 years ago
As albert said    
Comment icon #29 Posted by NCC1701 3 years ago
The rocks with the holes in the NASA picture of the Big Wheel really look like remnants of a coral reef. Perseverance's Big Wheel – NASA’s Mars Exploration Program
Comment icon #30 Posted by Peter B 3 years ago
Interesting thought. But I'd suggest that holes like that can also be found in igneous rocks - from gas bubbles in the cooling magma. IIRC, the term is "vesicle".
Comment icon #31 Posted by stevewinn 3 years ago
Do they have a live streaming from Mars on this rover or do we have to wait until they release footage every now and then? 
Comment icon #32 Posted by bison 3 years ago
 I've heard nothing about a constant 'live feed'. That would be technically very difficult, considering the bandwidth  limitations ( 500 bits per second to 32 kilobits/ sec.) from the distance of Mars. It can take about an hour to send a single, high resolution image to Earth!  NASA will have a press conference  at 2:00 p.m. today, Eastern Standard Time. ( 11 a.m. Pacific, 19:00 GMT) They will show the latest images of the surface of Mars, and a video, showing the landing of Perseverance. NASA TV will show this, as will many other sites, including Youtube.
Comment icon #33 Posted by Desertrat56 3 years ago
@bison  here is the live update page on space.com.   It is not constant live feed now that the rover has landed but there are updates. https://www.space.com/news/live/mars-perseverance-rover-updates


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