Clouds or mud storms on Mars will not spoil the Perseverance rover’s big landing in the present day (Feb. 18), NASA scientists stated.
After a seven-month trek from Earth to Mars, Perseverance is getting ready for the most dangerous part of its mission: plunging by means of the skinny Martian ambiance with out slamming into the floor of the Pink Planet. Luckily, scientists on the mission suppose that the climate should not intervene with that perilous course of.
“The climate circumstances look fairly favorable for us proper now,” Allen Chen, who leads the staff at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California for Perseverance’s entry, descent and touchdown, stated throughout a digital information convention held Wednesday. “There are some clouds which are on the market and a few polar cap edge storms, however nothing close to our Jezero landing site,” Chen stated, referring to the crater the place Perseverance will land.
You can watch the Mars landing live here and on Area.com’s homepage, courtesy of NASA, starting at 2:15 p.m. EST (1915 GMT). The touchdown is predicted at three:55 p.m. EST (2055 GMT).
Associated: How to watch NASA’s Perseverance rover land on Mars
Reside updates: NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover mission
The mission’s touchdown website at Jezero Crater is positioned about 18 degrees into the Red Planet’s northern hemisphere, which entered its spring season on Feb. 7. “We simply entered spring within the northern hemisphere, which is definitely the start of the Martian new yr,” Chen stated. “So I assume a cheerful belated Martian New Year to these of you who have a good time!” Not like Earth’s seasons, Mars’ are uneven, with the northern spring lasting the longest.
Perseverance is certainly one of a trio of missions that arrived at Mars this month; one other mission, the United Arab Emirates’ Hope orbiter, released a spectacular image the spacecraft took on Feb. 10 displaying off wispy clouds within the planet’s ambiance. (Coincidentally, as soon as that spacecraft settles into its keep at Mars, it should deal with learning the Pink Planet’s climate and the interactions between the layers of the ambiance.)
Nevertheless, Jezero Crater is not seen in that picture, which captures the extra dramatic northern hemisphere landmarks of large mountain Olympus Mons and canyon Valles Marineris, plus the three massive mountains sprinkled between the 2. Jezero is on the opposite side of Mars from these options.
Perseverance rover’s Mars touchdown: Everything you need to know
And it is a good factor that the climate appears to be cooperating with Perseverance, since NASA cannot delay the rover’s touchdown. The mission staff had focused in the present day’s exact touchdown time even earlier than the spacecraft blasted off Earth in July.
Luckily, NASA has performed this earlier than. Perseverance shall be utilizing an upgraded model of the identical touchdown gear that the Curiosity rover, the center of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, utilized in 2012, and scientists might use that have to construct confidence in how Perseverance’s touchdown in the present day will play out.
However that touchdown did alert scientists to a phenomenon they need to examine throughout in the present day’s repeat efficiency, NASA personnel stated throughout the identical pre-landing information convention.
“MSL’s path was affected by winds within the seconds earlier than the parachute deployed, and so we would wish to be taught extra about that this time round,” Kaitlin Liles, deputy chief engineer at NASA’s Langley Analysis Middle in Virginia for the sensor suite monitoring Perseverance’s touchdown course of, stated. “What is the impression of wind on the car’s trajectory?”
The brand new evaluation of Perseverance’s touchdown can then inform future Pink Planet arrivals.
After all, regardless of the cooperative climate, Perseverance will nonetheless face a difficult descent in the present day. “Even with clear skies, touchdown is essentially the most vital and harmful a part of the mission,” Chen stated. “We simply cannot assure success.”
Visit Space.com in the present day for full protection of the Perseverance Mars rover’s touchdown on the Pink Planet.
Electronic mail Meghan Bartels at firstname.lastname@example.org or observe her on Twitter @meghanbartels. Comply with us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Fb.