Humanity a step closer to creating a colony on Mars
After years of waiting and development, NASA finally launched the Rover Perseverance ("Perseverance") and a helicopter Ingenuity ("Ingenuity"). This ambitious Rover is the latest achievement in the U.S. space robots-researchers. The launch took place on 30 July 2020 with the launch vehicle Atlas V launch site at Cape Canaveral. Not only that, Perseverance — the largest Rover in the world, so he was still standing in front of a variety of missions, from collecting soil what is usually involved in the planetary Rovers, to produce oxygen on Mars!
Why the launch was right now? NASA had to send this mission not later than August 15, since then Mars and Earth will no longer be in an ideal location for space travel. The entire project would be delayed by as much as two years before the next close approach of two planets together. For this reason, not so long ago on Mars sent his .
It is Expected that the Rover with the helicopter will land in the crater of Mars Jezero February 18, 2021. It was there, according to scientists, contains various types of clay and carbonates, before there were rivers and lakes. That is, the Rover will immediately begin to study one of the most interesting places on Mars where there could be life.
Crater Lake you can see in this picture. The Rover landing site "Perseverance" (circled) near an ancient river Delta, which can be seen in the upper left corner of the crater.
We Have four objectives, stated earlier this year, Ken Williford, Deputy head of mission NASA «Mars 2020». The first three are really our main scientific objectives. The fourth is a preparation for the study of man.
Before the Rover "Persistence" have the following tasks: search of places that could potentially be habitable in the past, the search for signs of existence of ancient microbes in the rocks, which are known , as well as the collection and storage of promising rock samples for a future mission to return.
The Rover was specifically designed to achieve these goals. It has a unique and complex set of tools, including a laser capable of blowing up rocks, microphones and cameras, powerful drilling rig, the mobile station and the first radar ever sent to the Martian surface. Many of these high-tech tools are just updated versions of those . NASA uses what they call "hereditary" approach: borrowing that worked on Curiosity.
Perseverance is 90% of spare parts from the Curiosity mission, said earlier this year Jim bell, the main developer of systems for Perseverance. Thanks to this, was able to quickly get approval for the mission. We were able to save huge amounts of money using these spare parts.
But this does not mean that "Persistence" has cost the United States too cheaply. This, for a moment, a project worth about $ 2 billion, and NASA plans to spend a total of about $ 2.7 billion to the entire mission.
Despite borrowing most of its technologies have Curiosity, Perseverance includes a few new gadgets.
The New Rover is designed to not only collect, but to store samples of rock and soil for their future submission to the Ground. Using the rotary impact drill, the Rover will bite into the surface of Mars. The special bucket will make the soil sampling. Then Perseverance will photograph the sample and puts it in his inner chamber, hermetically seal the soil in a titanium tube and will store in his "body," while the sample does not need to send back.
diagram of the Rover's Perseverance.
How do samples get to the scientists? According to plans NASA, the new mission (not yet announced) on Mars will be sent another little Rover to collect all the samples and load them into a rocket. With its help, the little Rover will first enter orbit around Mars, and then begin their return to Earth. Once the Martian samples reach the planet, researchers will study them using the most powerful of the existing laboratory instruments. True, it will happen not before 2031.
Why not gather the soil and send it immediately to the second Mars Rover? The fact that the Rovers move very slowly and you can't easily pick up dirt that is needed. In addition, the Rover should explore as many square Mars before off. The life cycle of Perseverance is 687 earth days.
an Example of how soil samples will leave the Red planet.
In Addition to the Rover, the mission also involved a helicopter Ingenuity ("Ingenuity"). When the length a little more than 0.6 meters and a weight less than 1.8 kg, Resourcefulness, frankly, there is little to do there. The helicopter can take off, hover a few dozen meters above the surface and land on a flat surface.
Meaning it is sent into see if the helicopter fly in the thin atmosphere of Mars. If the experiment ends successfully, the data will transmit the helicopter Ingenuity, can help engineers to build more advanced and a great helicopter for Mars, is able to explore the areas where you can't get traditional Rovers.
don't underestimate this helicopter
Finally, the most ambitious experiment would be to attempt to extract oxygen from the air of Mars. This will be a special device moxie, is designed to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide of the red planet into breathable oxygen.
moxie is quite difficult device have existing molecules of carbon dioxide, resulting in carbon monoxide, oxygen and other byproducts.
The Atmosphere of Mars consists of about 95% carbon dioxide, so it is enough to turn it into oxygen. Unfortunately, moxie produces only a small amount of oxygen is about six grams per hour – and this is just enough to save the life of a little dog. But if the experiment will be successful, in the future on Mars will be more advanced devices that will allow you to do the oxygen needed for humans volumes.
highlighted in Yellow are moxie — the device for production of oxygen
People need about 20 grams of oxygen per hour in order to survive. Thus, technology must be greatly improved before it can provide enough oxygen for the respiration of astronauts, not to mention how to use it to produce rocket fuel on Mars.
Thanks to such missions as "Perseverance," the idea of human colonies in Mars doesn't seem so crazy as before.
However, moxie is something more than just a test for oxygen production. This just checks to see if we can use the power of electrochemistry, Land on another planet. If astronauts eventually will have access to water on Mars, providing a reliable source of hydrogen — scientists will be able to change the basic technology of moxie to create more complex products.
If you have water and electrochemistry, — say the authors of the mission — you can start to do anything from paraffin to beer.
And when you read on our website or in our that "Persistence" has reached the surface of Mars, keep in mind that this Rover not just looking for ancient alien life. It will also allow people to cook on the red planet my first Martian beer.
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