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NASA’s Perseverance Rover finally hit the road on Mars.

View of the Jezero Crater as seen from the Ingenuity helicopter.

View of the Jezero Crater, as seen by intelligent helicopter
image: NASA JPL

with The helicopter nanny duties ended up being painstaking, eventually able to get down to serious search business. Martian landscape for signs of past life

Jennifer Trosper, Perseverance program manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said: “We are laying out the process of commissioning the rover and landing in our rearview mirrors and crashing into the road.” testimony.

Indeed, perseverance was no longer necessary during intense testing. The successful intelligent helicopter that is flight in progress without the watchful eye of the probe independent of that taskNow he could begin his first scientific expedition.

Over the next 14 weeks will see Perseverance explore 1.5 square miles. [4-square-kilometer] The space within the Jezero Crater as it works to fill.Killing goodbyes of scientific purposesThese goals include a growing understanding of the region’s geology. Assessing potential before being a portlife and of course Top Reward: Find traces of ancient microorganisms.

To this end, Perseverance will search and collect promising rock and sediment samples. some of which will be hidden in tanks for future Mars missions to retrieve and deliver. to the world for analysis The rover will conduct measurements and perform technical tests to predict future human and robotic missions to the Red Planet.

The first step is for the SUV to reach the vantage point. where ancient geological features can be seen in the crater Percy’s auto-navigation and sampling capabilities will go completely online during this process.

From there, the rover will begin exploring two specific areas. Both areas are believed to be layered, revealing deep and ancient rock layers. The first area was dubbed the Crater Floor Fractured Rough, which As its name implies, is full of craters The second area is called Séítah, which means “among the sand.” In Navajo, Séítah has “a fair share of Martian bedrock. It is also home to ridges, layered rocks and sand dunes,” according to NASA.

An annotated map showing Percy's planned route.

An annotated map showing Percy’s plans. path.
image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

The rover’s path is predetermined, and top map show Where will persistence wander in the next 100 Sols or Mars? mission planners have “The planned route with unnecessary choices and attractively labeled areas and potential obstacles in our path.” Kevin Hand, astrologer at NASA’s JPL and co-leader of the project. explained in the statement

The Seitah Exploration is expected to be challenging. due to the complex sand dunes to avoid problems The rover will navigate the boundary between this region and the rough terrain of the adjacent crater floor. When an area of ​​interest is identified within Setah Percy will create a straight line to that point. scientific duty and then return to safety The team is planning to identify at least four locations within these two areas. which is considered to be able to reveal the environment in the early and the geological history of the crater. From these four points the rover will collect samples.

“Starting with the Rough Geological Unit and the cracks of the Séítah Crater Floor allowed us to begin our exploration of Jezero from scratch,” Hand said. “This area is at least 100 meters under. [328 feet] of water 3.8 billion years ago We don’t know what stories the rocks and rocks will tell. But we are excited to begin.”

months from now When this phase of the mission is complete The rover returns to Octavia E. Butler’s landing point, where it It should travel anywhere between 1.6 and 3.1 miles (2.5 to 5 km), while eight of the 43 sample tubes should be filled with Martian soil and rocks.

This first science campaign sounds good. But the next mission promises to be even better. Perseverance will travel north and west to the delta of Jezero, which was once the confluence of ancient rivers and lakes. The delta may be rich in carbonates, that is, minerals that can preserve fossil traces of life. If microbial life ever existed on Mars—and that would still be a big if—this delta. would be the perfect place for it. to live.

Perseverance may be the first official action. scientific exploration but for fairness The rover gained knowledge from this moment. it landed in February. Besides Record a sound on Marsgot it provide a small amount of oxygen from the carbon dioxide-rich Martian atmosphere

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