The next rover to land on the surface of the Red Planet is the Perseverance rover. The rover is scheduled to land on Mars on February 18, 2021. NASA has offered a new animated video showing key phenomena in the rover’s landing process.
The forces that the rover will experience during the landing process are amazing. The spacecraft will have to slow down from about 12,100 mph when it enters the top of the Martian atmosphere to about two mph at a touch in Lake Crater. The mission of Perseverance is to look for signs of ancient microbial life on Mars.
Rover will also collect samples of Martian rock and regolith. Other tasks include attempts to characterize the geology and climate of Mars, which is part of an effort to pave the way for humans to set foot on Mars. Perseverance was launched on July 30, 2020, although it carries several scientific instruments, one of the most exciting experiments to be reported involves a Mars helicopter.
NASA is trying to test whether the rotors can work on Mars. The challenge is that Mars ’atmosphere is much thinner than that on Earth and it is unclear whether the helicopter will be able to fly. If helicopters can operate on Mars, it opens the door to much wider research possibilities.
You can see NASA’s animated video above and it’s an interesting clock that lasts just over three minutes. The animation certainly shows how impressive it is that humans can design a spacecraft that will be able to survive and function in such a challenging environment. If you have nothing else to do on Christmas Eve, it’s worth a look.