About seven months after leaving Earth, NASA’s Mars 2020 probe finally arrived at its destination this Thursday, February 18. It dropped the Perseverance rover on the Red Planet around 9:55 p.m.An ultra-risky final maneuver, engineers from the US space agency evoked seven minutes of terror decisive for the success of the mission, which aims, in particular, to ultimately find any traces of past life on Mars.

But Perseverance landed safely on Mars, the first images were transmitted shortly after and can be found live on the National Center for Space Studies in partnership with the CNRS (National Center of scientific research). On social Internet, users can share their impressions with the keyword of the Republic Emmanuel Macron followed the event at the Paris headquarters, since France designed one of the rover’s many scientific instruments. He congratulated himself on this success.

We are there! Here we are, Tweeted the head of state. “From the Rover Perseverance equipped with the SuperCam. A part of the French excellence has just arrived on the red planet to study the Martian rock. Great pride! Congratulations to the teams of @NASA, @CNES, and @CNRS.

Just before, the Head of State, accompanied by his wife Brigitte Macron, spoke at a distance with Thomas Pesquet, who is currently training in California, at Space X, for his second mission to the planned International Space Station (ISS) April 20.

Note also that, when the landing was confirmed by NASA, it actually took place several minutes earlier because of the transmission delay between Earth and Mars. Eleven minutes exactly.

From 20,000 km / h to zero in seven minutes, the robot, which weighs a ton, went from a speed of 20,000 km / h to zero. He was protected by a heat shield which was released after opening a huge supersonic parachute. Eight motors pointed at the ground slowed him down before he deployed his six wheels, suspended along with cables until contact with the ground.

A crucial mission in the continuation of Martian exploration. NASA’s Mars 2020 mission aims to answer a question that humanity has been asking itself since the dawn of time: does life exist or has it already existed elsewhere than on Earth? The rover Perseverance has the explicit goal of finding traces of ancient life on the red planet, by collecting over several years up to forty rock samples. The sealed tubes will then have to be brought back to Earth by a future mission, in the 2030s, to be analyzed.

The robot landed on Jezero crater – the most dangerous landing site ever attempted – as researchers estimate it was home to a deep lake about 50 km wide more than three and a half billion ago years. The first samples should start this summer. Scientists are looking for “biosignatures”, or traces of microbial life in any possible form. However, the first months of the mission will be devoted to parallel experiments, including recordings of Martian sounds and an oxygen production experiment. Perseverance is only the fifth rover to set foot on Martian soil. Since the first one, in 1997, they have all been Americans, and one of them, Curiosity, is still in business. But China recently placed its “Tianwen-1” probe in orbit around Mars. It contains a remote-controlled robot which should attempt to land around next May.