Mars 2020 is the name of the mission that took an unmanned space vehicle, called Perseverance, to Mars . The Atlas V-541 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, United States of America , on July 20, 2020, and landed on the Red Planet on February 18, 2021. The mission’s main objective is to look for signs of ancient microbial life in mars .
Perseverance is the name of the robot that will explore the composition of the soil and rocks of Mars , looking for signs that indicate the existence of microbial life on the Red Planet, even in the remote past.
After a long journey lasting just over seven months, the Perseverance rover landed on Mars on February 18, 2021 . Built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the rover was developed to investigate the geology of Mars; look for signs of ancient microbial life; and, finally, to test the feasibility of producing oxygen in the atmosphere of Mars through the conversion of carbon dioxide .
The Perseverance rover is remotely operated by radio waves , weighs over two tons and is equipped with a large number of sample collection and analysis instruments, sensors, cameras, etc. In addition to moving three times faster than the old rovers sent to Mars, it also has a drone, Ingenuity , with which the researchers were able to carry out autonomous flights in the rarefied atmosphere of the planet and record images of it.
Mars Mission 2020
The launch of the Perseverance rover took place at Cape Canaveral on July 30, 2020. From that date, the rover was transported by a spacecraft, which traveled at an average speed of 40,000 km/h and arrived at Mars after a period of of about seven months, having covered a distance of 480 million kilometers. During the cruise phase, the spacecraft’s trajectory was remotely corrected, ensuring it arrived safely at Mars.
Despite being the shortest phase of the entire mission, the landing was always the most critical phase. For the Mars landing to go well, the spacecraft had to detach itself from an entry module, which entered the planet’s atmosphere at about 20,000 km/h.
The input module was protected by a heat shield, which, after having fulfilled its mission to protect the rover from overheating, was ejected. At that moment, a large parachute slowed the entry module. Finally, the last decelerations were done by the lander’s thrusters, which lifted the rover by cables until it could touch the Martian soil.
After safely landing, the rover intends to collect samples and analyze the composition of Mart’s soil and for at least one Martian year, about 687 Earth days.
Ingenuity, the helicopter designed to fly on Mars
Ingenuity is a drone that resembles a miniature helicopter and was developed by NASA to perform autonomous flight over the surface of Mars. Ingenuity arrived on Martian soil on February 18, 2021, together with the Persevarence spacecraft, and marked the history of humanity by performing the first successful powered flight on another planet , on April 18, 2021.
The Ingenuity helicopter, which measures 49 cm tall and weighs 1.8 kg, is designed to fly autonomously, as any controls sent from Earth take 5 to 20 minutes to reach Mars, depending on the distance. between the two planets. The first flight made by Ingenuity lasted 39 seconds and, in that time, the helicopter flew 3 m off the ground, remaining stable for 39 seconds until returning to the starting point.
It may not seem like much, but the feat of flying over Mars for the first time is quite grand. The Red Planet’s atmosphere has a very low density, about 1% of the density of Earth ‘s atmosphere . Such a density is similar to that of the Earth’s atmosphere, but at a height of 35 km from sea level. For this reason, Ingenuity’s propellers were designed to spin at 2500 rpm , far beyond what it would need to fly on Earth (500 rpm).
It is worth mentioning that the flight itself was one of the last challenges to be faced by Ingenuity. Before that, the helicopter had to keep warm to a temperature of 7°C, while facing the cold nights of Mars, which can reach temperatures as low as -90°C. Even with so many difficulties, Ingenuity achieved its main objective, showing that it is possible to fly in the atmosphere of Mars.
facts about mars
Mars is the destination of the Perseverance rover and is also the fourth planet in distance from the Sun. The Red Planet is so called because of its color, which comes from the large amount of iron oxide on its surface. Mars is a rocky planet and, like Earth, it has an atmosphere, although it is rarefied and quite different from ours. Let’s check out some curiosities about this planet?
- Like Earth , Mars has two poles, which are frozen most of the time.
- Mars has two natural satellites — Phobos and Deimos.
- Mars is approximately half the radius of Earth.
- The gravity of Mars is approximately 3.71 m/s².
- The average temperature on Mars is approximately -63°C.
- The largest volcano in the Solar System is located on Mars and is called Mount Olympus . It is three times bigger than Mount Everest.