Track Perseverance in real time before it lands on Mars

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A NASA application makes it possible to follow the trajectory of the Perseverance rover, which is about to land on the red planet. As a reminder, the landing is scheduled for tonight, around 9:55 p.m. French time.

On July 30, NASA’s Mars 2020 mission was launched. Its objective: to free the Perseverance rover on the surface of the red planet in order to search for traces of past life. It will also be a question of putting some samples under seal for a future return to Earth. The American agency also intends to take advantage of this mission by testing Ingenuity, its new helicopter.

In the meantime, the rover and its rotorcraft, well wedged under its belly, continue their way towards the red planet. The landing is seen for this evening, around 9:55 pm French time. A few links are available at the end of the article to follow the event live. In the meantime, for those interested, note that the American agency offers an application – Eyes on the solar system – allowing to follow the trajectory of the mission in real time.

“Eyes on the Solar System visualizes the same trajectory data as that used by the navigation team to plot the trajectory of Perseverance towards Mars, says Fernando Abilleira, responsible for the design and navigation of the Mars 2020 mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. If you want to follow us on our journey, this is the place to be ”.

An illustration of the route taken by the Mars 2020 spacecraft to get to Mars. Credit: NASA

Seven minutes of terror

Remember that the actual process of entering, descending and landing will take place in just seven minutes (the most risky of the mission).

The first milestone of this event will occur around 9:38 p.m. French time when the rover’s capsule detaches from the probe. About ten minutes later, the capsule is expected to pierce the atmosphere of Mars at nearly 20,000 km / h. To start slowing down, the vehicle will need to perform a maneuver similar to that performed by airplane pilots who wait for the green light to land at an airport. Then a huge parachute will open to further brake the capsule.

Finally, the descent stage will detach from the parachute as it approaches the surface, then, about 21 meters above the ground, the rover will be lowered after three cables. As soon as its wheels touch the ground, the cables will be cut and the descent stage will move aside to crash at about 150 meters. Now you just have to keep your fingers crossed!

Here are two French links to follow the event live:

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