In this article, we will look into the Mission Mars 2020 details in which NASA has safely landed the Perseverance Rover on the surface of the Mars on 18th Feb, 2021. Perseverance has done the touch down in Jezero crater on Mars at 20:55 UTC on 18 February 2021. As of 23 February 2021, Perseverance has been on Mars for 4 sols. It is one of the most complicated mission NASA has ever designed and executed with utmost accuracy.
What is Perseverance
Perseverance is a rover vehicle designed by NASA with advanced computational capabilities. It is the largest, heaviest and most sophisticated vehicle NASA has ever sent to the Red Planet. It consists of many Scientific Instruments and Devices which will help the rover achieving its objectives.
Other Components on Perseverance Rover
- RIMFAX (Subsurface Radar)
- MEDA (Weather Station)
- MOXIE (produces oxygen from Martian CO2)
- PIXL (X-ray Spectrometer)
- SHERLOC (Ultraviolet Spectrometer)
- SUPERCAM (Laser Micro-Imager)
- MASTCAM-Z (Zoomable Panoramic Cameras)
Why Mission Mars 2020 Important
Mission Mars 2020 is important because Perseverance will not only explore the planet but will also hunt for signs of habitable environments on Mars while searching for signs of past microbial life. The robotic traveler will also cache a series of samples that can be returned to Earth with a future mission. It will also characterize the planet’s climate and geology and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet.
Mission Mars 2020
Mission Name: Mars 2020
Rover Name: Perseverance
Main Job: Seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and regolith (broken rock and soil) for possible return to Earth.
Launch: July 30, 2020
Landing: Feb. 18, 2021
Landing Site: Jezero Crater, Mars
Tech Demo: The Mars Helicopter is a technology demonstration, hitching a ride on the Perseverance rover. More on NASA Official website.
Difference between Perseverance and Curiosity
Perseverance derived its most of the hardware from the previously sent Curiosity Rover which is still operational on Mars Surface. Although more than 80% hardware is inherited, there are still some major changes done on Perseverance as compared to its predecessor:-
- Large Robotic Arm in front of the Rover as compared to Curiosity to collect rock core samples.
- Major upgradation in Software to manage the rover daily activities.
- It has the ability to sample and cache minerals. Future Missions can then pick the sample and bring it back to earth.
- More Robust wheels due to wear and tear the curiosity rover wheels endured while driving sharp rock edges.
Past NASA Robotic Mission to Mars
NASA has been conducting Robotic mission to mars from quite sometime now which has now given the relevant expertise to the Space Body. Some of the Important Robotic Missions are:-
- Mars Exploration Rovers(Spirit and Opportunity)
- Mars Pathfinder
- Mars Polar Lander/Deep Space 2
Cost of the Mission
NASA has plan to invest around US$2.8 billion in Mars 2020 mission over next 10 years. It has spent around US$2.2 billion on the development of Perseverance rover, US$80 million on the Ingenuity helicopter, US$243 million for the launch services and another US$296 million for the mission operations.
Impact and Significance of Mission Mars 2020
- This mission will unlock many secrets of the presence of microbial life if ever existed on the Red Planet.
- With every successful mission, NASA moves one step closer to the truth of finding extraterrestrial life on another planet.
- Testing of more accurate Landing techniques.
- Test and Find the method to produce oxygen from Martian Atmosphere.
- This mission will also open the gates for future research and development on the Red Planet.
- NASA will understand the physics of helicopter on the Red Planet which will help them cover the larger monitoring area.
- Understand the physics of weather and dust to pave the way for future astronauts.