The journey that, in a few days, the Mars Perseverance will undertake is, if we think about it for a few seconds, impressive. Mars is, together with Venus, our closest neighbor and yet seven long months of space flight (in perihelion, of course) separate us from the plains of the red planet. A journey that will surely face a thousand adversities and the hostility of space, demonstrating that if you stop nonsense and focus on moving forward, the human being is capable of doing truly incredible things.
Only four days to go Next Thursday, July 30, the Atlas V 541 begins to move away from the Earth’s surfaceWith the mission of taking both Mars Perseverance and the small but fascinating Ingenuity to Mars, and in the absence of these 96 hours, its managers have completed one of the most important previous tasks, which is to check the operation of the radioisotope thermoelectric generator, that is, from the generator that, using radioactive elements, will provide the rover and the helicopter with the energy they need for their activities on the red planet.
More concretely, the generator with which the Mars Perseverance has been equipped feeds on plutonium-238. The decomposition of this material generates heat that becomes a source of electricity of 110 W. The electricity, in turn, charges two lithium-ion batteries on board the rover and from which the systems of the rover are powered. NASA expects the power system to provide a life span of up to 14 years, well above the somewhat less than two years anticipated, at least initially, for the rover and helicopter mission.
During the Mars Perseverance and Ingenuity mission their geological processes, the livability of the planetwill be sought signs of possible existence of life in the distant past and it will be checked if there has been any case of preservation of bioforms in geological materials. The rover will take samples that will be conserved for a hypothetical future mission destined to bring these to our planet.
To facilitate exploration, Mars Perseverance will rely on the Ingenuity, a small helicopter that we told you about a few months ago, and which It will be the first experience of using a flying device outside our planetTherefore, its own operation will also be another scientific and engineering test, which opens the doors to the use of more devices of this type in future exploration missions.
Seven months of travel after which the Mars Perseverance will touch the surface of the red planet for the first time, in the Jezero crater, around 21:40 (Spanish time) on February 18, 2021. Seven months of travel that will continue one more step in the direction that some of us have been dreaming of for a long time: the first manned mission to the red planet. The list of explorers who, like Christopher Columbus, Juan Sebastián Elcano, Roald Amundsen, Edmund Hillary, Neil Armstrong and many other pioneers, must be expanded with the name of the first human being to step on the surface of Mars.
With information from Teslarati
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