NASA released an animation showing how the one-ton spacecraft Perseverance will land on Mars on February 18.
The vehicle, which will be sent to a crater called Jezero, will look for possible past life evidence. However, for this, the vehicle must first make a smooth landing.
The series of maneuvers required for the vehicle to land on Mars are called “new minute horrors” and they are not wrong in that either.
A lot of things have to go right in a very short time. Otherwise, the vehicle may dig a huge and very expensive hole in the Red Planet.
Moreover, it is hoped that the tool will do all this by itself.
Since the distance between Earth and Mars is 209 million kilometers, everything seen in the animation has to be done by the computers in the vehicle.
The landing maneuver begins at an altitude of 100 kilometers, where Perseverance reaches the first layers of Mars’ atmosphere.
At this point, the vehicle inside its protective capsule is traveling at a speed of 20 thousand kilometers per hour.
In less than 400 seconds, the descent system should reduce this speed to less than 1 meter per second on the surface.
Most of this work is done with a heat shield.
As the capsule penetrates deep into the Martian air, the temperature rises to more than 1000 degrees Celsius, but at the same time, the friction slows down the rate of decline drastically.
As the supersonic parachute opens from the rear shell of the capsule, the speed drops to 1200 kilometers per hour.
With Perceverance’s 21.5-meter wide parachute, it goes for just over a minute and the entry speed decreases a little more.
However, it still hasn’t gotten into the real complex parts.
While traveling at an altitude of 2 kilometers at a speed of 100 meters per second, Perseverance is falling with the “air winch”.
Eight rockets then engage, allowing it to float just above the surface. Nylon cables are used to bring billions of dollars worth of wheeled vehicles to the surface.
But it’s not over yet.
As soon as Perseverance touches the ground, he needs to break the cables so that he does not fly into a safe distance and drift with the air winch he was supposed to destroy himself.
All these challenges NasaIt was also used in the landing of Curiosity, the last vehicle sent to Mars eight years ago. However, navigational devices have evolved enough to land Perseverance to a specific location on Mars.
The landing is planned to take place in the afternoon at Mars time, and before 24.00 in world time.
It’s also important to remember that on the day of landing, a radio signal traveled from Earth to Mars in roughly 700 seconds.
This means that when Nasa receives the message from Perseverance to enter the Martian atmosphere, the mission will be successful or unsuccessful for a few minutes.
The robot will record its landing with cameras and microphones, and if Perseverance landed successfully, the recordings will be sent to earth later.