Hey Space Placers!
If NASA’s newest mission to Mars, Perseverance Rover https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/nasa-s-next-mars-rover-is-ready-for-the-most-precise-landing-yet , survives the harrowing “Seven Minutes of Terror”
to make a successful landing Thursday, Mars Curiosity Rover https://mars.nasa.gov/msl/home/ will no longer be the sole active Rover on the Red Planet.
Landing at Jezero Crater is scheduled for approximately 3:55 p.m. EST but NASA won’t know if their newest Rover is alive or dead for another 11 minutes, 22 seconds. That is how long it takes the telemetry from Perseverance to reach Earth traveling at the speed of light - 186,00 miles PER SECOND.
As stated by NASA, “Jezero is a basin where scientists believe an ancient river flowed into a lake and deposited sediments in a fan shape known as a delta. Scientists think the environment here was likely to have preserved signs of any life that gained a foothold billions of years ago – but Jezero also has steep cliffs, sand dunes, and boulder fields. Landing on Mars is difficult – only about 50% of all previous Mars landing attempts have succeeded – and these geological features make it even more so. The Perseverance team is building on lessons from previous touchdowns and employing new technologies that enable the spacecraft to target its landing site more accurately and avoid hazards autonomously.”
Mars Perseverance Rover is the most sophisticated mission yet sent to the Martian surface and carries the first ever helicopter (drone) to another planet. At some point the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/6-things-to-know-about-nasas-ingenuity-mars-helicopter will attempt powered flight and will return video and data. THAT will be something to see.
Commentary starts live at 2:15 p.m. EST on NASA TV https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive . There are other social media outlets and activities you can participate in https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/timeline/landing/ .
This mission has a direct and very personal connection for Northern Virginia https://wtop.com/fairfax-county/2021/02/va-student-who-named-mars-rover-excited-for-mission-broadcast/ you may not have known about.
Also Krispy Kreme is offering “Mars Donuts” on Thursday to celebrate NASA’S latest mission to Mars. https://wtop.com/food-restaurant/2021/02/krispy-kreme-offering-limited-edition-mars-doughnut-to-celebrate-nasas-rover-landing/
With winter storms very likely keeping us indoors Thursday, tune in and cross your fingers for this epic event. Before the live commentary begins watch this excellent video on the mission.
Sky Guy in VA