It did, the Nasa Perseverance rover, with the small Ingenuity helicopter in its tech pouch, landed on the ground of Mars with Swiss precision tonight at 9:55 pm. The most perfect and sophisticated Martian rover ever built is now on the red planet for all of us: 2.7 billion dollars, years and years of work, 1025 kilos, 10 more sophisticated tools, from the Martian drill to the laser to pulverize stones, a source of plutonium energy to be able to work 24/7, even in the Martian night. And above all, an Artificial Intelligence developed at the state of the art,
To carry out the landing maneuver on the Martian ground by itself and overcome the famous seven minutes of terror between entering the Martian atmosphere and landing. There the capsule had to do everything by itself, it is not possible to send correction signals in real-time: the delay times are from ten minutes upwards. Palpable anxiety in the control room that ran along with the network around the world in the thousands and thousands of more or less technological listening groups scattered everywhere. Screams of joy in the control room and, likely in thousands of homes and offices around the world, because knowing that Perseverance is alive and now on Mars, as a technique from the control room said, is an achievement for all humanity. It is there now, in the middle of the great Jezero crater, 45 kilometers in diameter, one of the most promising regions of that planet where one can think of being able to find signs of fossil life, some microorganisms witnessing a past rich in water and a dense atmosphere.
The atmosphere was the main actress also in this descent: too thin to break the capsule that contained the rover well, but dense enough to bring the temperature to at least 1600 degrees. The capsule containing the rover and the crane, which makes it do the last few meters before landing, entered the Martian high atmosphere at 20,000 kilometers an hour, immediately reaching the external temperature of the protection, at over 1500 degrees. At 11 kilometers, the big 21.5-meter parachute opens, when the speed is still supersonic. After leaving the heat shield and the automatic driving, terrestrial type, comes into operation.
The Crane, a kind of crane, accompanied him up to a few meters from the ground where he lowered him and then moved away, like an earth crane laying a load of bricks on the ground. Incredible. It seems simple but in fact, it is incredibly complex and it was the umpteenth great success of NASA, there is little to say: the Mars 2020 project is a great success. Also from the public Perseverance, emphasis on the third e brings with it ten million human signatures who want to reside on Mars, the drawings and thoughts of many American boys and girls on Mars, collected in schools in recent months and, during the direct from NASA, we saw a parade of American homemade cakes with the rover as decoration, posters, cheering children. Little to do, where funding reaches best if the taxpayer is happy with government agencies the space race is participatory and well-liked.
Ten important instruments, which will be discussed in-depth in the coming months, as well as small containers, as large as a half-liter bottle of water, in which the samples of Martian material extracted with the drill will be stored. They will stay on Martian soil for at least three years when the second part of the mission will see another half of Europe-NASA, go and get those cylinders, send them like in a baseball game to the sky, where they will be literally caught in the flight by a satellite remained in orbit around Mars and literally ejected to Earth, where they will be taken to be examined, the first time, in a real laboratory. And here the Italian Leonardo comes into play forcefully, building the very precise robotic arms with which, in 2023.