The US Space Agency, NASA has shown how its ambitious one tonne Mars rover is going to land on Mars on 18 February next year through an animation. NASA has sent this robot to a crater named Jezero. The Mars rover aims to look for evidence of past life on the planet. However, before it goes on to do its task; most importantly, it needs to touch down smoothly, said the experts. Astronomers have named the maneuvers it needs to perform before landing on Mars as ‘seven minutes of terror’. Experts have said that every move has to go right in a frighteningly short period; else, the landing mission will end up digging a very big and expensive hole on the Red planet. While explaining the animation, scientists have said that with the distance of the present day of 209 million km between Earth and Mars, every fraction of second and every movement shown in the animation needs to be controlled by the onboard computers. They have said that it begins more than 100 km above the Red Planet, where the Perseverance rover will meet the first tufts of the atmosphere. At this point, the vehicle inside its protective capsule will move at the speed of 20000 km/hour.
NASA has said that in slightly more than 400 seconds, the descent system needs to decrease the velocity to less than 1 meter/second at the surface of Mars. Scientists have said that a heat shield does the majority of work. As the capsule is pushed deeper into the Martian atmosphere, its temperature goes up to 1000 C, however, at the same time the drag reduces the fall drastically. By the time, the supersonic parachute which is set up from the backshell of the capsule; will reduce the speed to 1200 km/hour. The rover will ride the 21.5-meter wide parachute just for a minute further rubbing the entry speed. However, the most difficult phases are yet to come, said the experts. As per the scientists, at an altitude of 2 km, while traveling at 100 meters/second, the Perseverance rover and its sky crane will be separated from the backshell of the capsule and fall away. Eight rockets will be ignited on the cradle to bring the rover into a hanging position just above the surface. Scientists have used nylon chords to lower the multi-million-dollar vehicle to the ground.
NASA scientists have said that as the Perseverance rover understands the contact, it should immediately cut the cable; else, it will be pulled behind the crane as the cradle takes off to dispose of itself at a safe distance. The sequence is almost the same as NASA’s last rover, which has been launched 12 years ago. Nevertheless, navigation tools have been modified to keep the Perseverance rover down in a more accurate landing zone. The rover is expected to land on Mars just before 21:00 GMT on Earth. Scientists have said that on the landing day it will take nearly 700 seconds for a radio signal to reach Earth from Mars. The rover will record its descend on camera with microphones.