US President Joe Biden hailed the “historic” landing of the Perseverance rover on Mars on Thursday as proof of the power of science and “American ingenuity”.
“Congratulations to NASA and everyone whose hard work made the historic landing of Perseverance possible. Today it has been shown again that with the power of science and American ingenuity, nothing is outside the realm of possibility,” he tweeted.
Congratulations to NASA and everyone whose hard work made the historic landing of Perseverance possible. Today has proven again that with the power of science and American ingenuity, nothing is out of the realm of possibility. pic.twitter.com/NzSxW6nw4k
– President Biden (@POTUS) February 18, 2021
After seven months in space, NASA’s Perseverance rover overcame a tense landing phase with a series of perfectly executed maneuvers to gently float on the Martian floor on Thursday in search of signs of past life.
“Touchdown confirmed,” said Swati Mohan at 3:55 pm Eastern Time (2055 GMT) when mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena was cheered.
The autonomously guided process was actually completed more than 11 minutes earlier, the time it took radio signals to return to Earth.
Shortly after landing, the rover sent back its first black and white images, revealing a rocky field at the landing site in Jezero crater north of the Red Planet’s equator.
More images, videos of the descent and possibly the first Mars sounds ever recorded by microphones are expected in the coming hours when the rover sends data to overhead satellites.
During a press conference, NASA Assistant Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen theatrically tore up the landing phase contingency plan to emphasize how well things had gone and admitted that he had violated the Covid Protocol by telling people about the momentary emotions hugged.
In the coming years, Perseverance will attempt to collect 30 rock and soil samples in sealed tubes to be sent back to Earth for laboratory analysis sometime in the 2030s.
The vehicle is about the size of an SUV, weighs a ton, is equipped with a two-meter long robotic arm, has 19 cameras, two microphones and a range of state-of-the-art instruments to achieve its scientific goals.
Before it could get on its way, it first had to overcome the dreaded “Seven Minutes of Terror” – the risky entry, descent, and landing phase that failed almost half of all missions to Mars.
The endurance spaceship sped into the Martian atmosphere at 20,000 kilometers per hour, protected by its heat shield, and then deployed a supersonic parachute the size of a Little League field before firing an eight-engine jetpack.
Finally, it carefully lowered the rover to the ground with a harness.
Allen Chen, chief engineer for the landing stage, said a new guidance system called Terrain Relative Navigation, which uses a special camera to identify surface features and compare them to a boarding pass, is key to landing in a harsh region of science Interest.
“We are in a nice flat place, the vehicle is only tilted about 1.2 degrees,” he said. “We have successfully found this parking lot and have a safe rover on the ground.”
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)