Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Perseverance Landing on Mars Described and Depicted

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Solar System, Technology

Ed Hessler

On Thursday, February 18, 2021 it is hoped that there will be a brand new robotic rover on Mars. "Or," as Astronomy Picture of the Day puts it in stark terms, "there may be a new pile of junk." NASA will not know which outcome until nerve-wracking minutes after the  the robot is on the surface.

In the featured video linked below is shown the sequence of events with little, if any, room for error, in perfect, lockstep sequence. The landing  will involve a heat shield, a parachute, intricate rocket maneuvers and the automatic operation of a sophisticated device called a sky crane.  Here some of the engineers involved describe the events which are shown in animation. What is being delivered is a car-sized rover known as Perseverance.

See the video here (5m 7s). The music is dramatic and appropriate, too as is the title, Seven Minutes of Terror..

And from the British journal Nature, a one-page infographic features the three spacecraft heading to Mars in 2021. Richard Monastersky writes "Never before will such a diverse array of scientific gear have arrived at a foreign planet at the same time, with such broad ambitions." There is a nice illustration of the US entry, the robot rover Perseverance. The graphic design is by Jasick Krsysztofiak.

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