New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: NASA’s most advanced Mars rover yet, Perseverance is all set to launch for its seven-month journey to the Red Planet on July 30. The mission will be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida and viewers can participate in this historic event with NASA online. A live broadcast from NASA’s website or its social media channels will also be aired starting at 4:50 a.m. PDT (7:50 a.m. EDT). Perseverance rover is the largest, heaviest, most sophisticated vehicle with scientific instruments, advanced computational capabilities for landing, and other new systems, NASA has ever sent to the Red Planet.

Here are seven important things to know about Perseverance's mission to the Red Planet:

1. Perseverance-a tough mission rolls on the scientific spirit of overcoming challenges

NASA chose the name Perseverance from among the 28,000 essays submitted during the "Name the Rover" contest as it epitomizes the scientific spirit of overcoming challenges. The Rover not only is on the mission to land on the red planet but has to work on its science goals and search for signs of ancient microbial life, paving the way for human exploration beyond the Moon. The months leading up to the launch of the Rover to the treacherous planet, in particular, have required creative problem solving, teamwork, and determination due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"While coronavirus added significant challenges and logistics, the team has shown great determination and diligence to build a rover we can be proud to send to Mars. We can't wait to see the many years of dedication pay off at the launch pad," said Ray Baker, the mission's flight system manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California on NASA Science Mars Exploration Program.

2. Perseverance aims to answer the key question of astrobiology

Perseverance aims to take a step further by aiming to achieve its primary goal of finding any signs of life that once existed on Mars. As the history witnessed, Sojourner, NASA's modest first rover demonstrated in 1997 that a robot could rove on the Red Planet. Following, Spirit and Opportunity, which landed in 2004, Curiosity has been exploring Mars since 2012. It discovered that its landing site, Gale Crater, was home to a lake billion of years ago, with an environment that could have supported microbial life. NASA plans to take the exploration on another level now.

3. The landing of the Rover

According to the nasa.gov, The place where the Rover will be making a landing is going to be of high potential for finding signs of past microbial life. Ken Farley, the mission's project scientist, based at Caltech in Pasadena said, "The science team has had many discussions internally and externally about where the next Mars rover should go. We ultimately chose Jezero Crater because it is such a promising location for finding organic molecules and other potential signs of microbial life."

4. Studying and collecting data about Mars' geology and climate.

Jezero Crater, where the rover will land is 28 miles (45 kilometers) wide and sits on the western edge of Isidis Planitia. Sometime between 3 billion and 4 billion years ago at Jezero, a river flowed into a body of water the size of Lake Tahoe. Mars orbiters have collected images and other data from Jezero Crater from about 200 miles (322 kilometers) above but to find signs of ancient life there, it will require much closer inspection.

A rover like Perseverance will understand Mars’ past climate conditions and reading the geological history embedded in its rocks. It will also provide us a sense of why Earth and Mars – which formed from the same primordial stuff – ended up so different.

5. Perseverance-First rover to bring a sample-gathering system to Mars

The enormous burden of proof and study is required to find out and verify ancient microscopic life on Mars. Perseverance is going to package promising examples of rocks and sediments for return to Earth by a future mission as it is the first rover to bring a sample-gathering system to Mars.

NASA and the European Space Agency planned A Mars Sample Return campaign so that they can investigate the samples with instruments too large and complex to send to Mars.  

6. Perseverance Technology will pave way for human missions to Mars and the Moon

Perseverance instruments and technology that includes The Terrain-Relative Navigation system, helping the rover to avoid hazards during landing and other instruments like Landing Instrumentation 2 (MEDLI2) sensor suite, which gathers crucial data during the journey through the Martian atmosphere,will pave a way for future human missions to land more safely and with larger payloads on other worlds.

7. Witness the historic mission on your own

The Rover and other parts of the Mars 2020 spacecraft feature 23 cameras – more cameras than any interplanetary mission in history. It will provide us images of the landscape and scientific specimens in breathtaking detail. Through these, engineers can put together a high-definition view of the landing process after the rover safely touches down on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021.

Interestingly, nearly the names of the 11 million people who signed up to ride with the mission will be on the three silicon chips that the Rover carries with itself on the mission.

Posted By: Simran Babbar