Does all of the social distancing from 2020 have you wanting to visit a new destination other than the grocery store?
How about a place that is so awesome that it’s out of this world?
Well, you’re in luck, and, the best part is that you don’t even have to leave your couch. (Yes, really!)
First, let’s do a little “time-traveling” (no DeLorean needed) to the not-so-distant past. Remember the ULA Atlas V rocket launch from July 2020 that carried the car-sized Perseverance Rover and Ingenuity Helicopter into space? (Of course, you do, you’re a space nerd—or if you’re feeling fancy, a space enthusiast), but just in case you need a refresher, are new to space exploration, or want to relive the launch, watch the ULA Atlas V rocket launch that sent the Perseverance rover to Mars.
Once you are caught up from your time travel adventure, come join Albert the Rocket Monkey and the team at Space Launch Schedule in taking a trip (via NASA live stream) to the Red Planet with NASA and its Mars Perseverance Rover.m
Mark your calendars for Thursday, February 18, 2021, at 3:55 PM EST to join us as we watch the historical event of the rover’s final descent into the Jezero crater using an MSL-inspired sky-crane. You can watch the live news coverage of the Mars Perseverance Rover landing here:
Perseverance is not your typical travel vehicle, as it is equipped with seven (7) science instruments, twenty-three (23) cameras, and two (2) microphones. (NASA Mars Rover Virtual Landing Packet, 2020). This high-tech equipment will collect data for the scientists back at NASA and provide viewers like us with some pretty incredible views.
Once Perseverance has descended, it will be on a dedicated mission to explore for signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and other geological materials for return back to Earth.
So how will the Perseverance Rover accomplish its intended mission?
As mentioned above, the rover has seven (7) different science instruments, which, according to NASA, are “… state-of-the-art tools for acquiring information about Martian geology, atmosphere, environmental conditions, and potential biosignatures.
Each one of the seven (7) science instruments aboard the rover is unique and has a specific purpose for the Mars 2020 mission. Below, you can view an image of the Perseverance rover and explore each of the even instruments aboard and why they are aboard the vehicle
Meet the Perseverance Rover and its Seven Instruments of Measurement
Image obtained from https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/spacecraft/instruments/
Mastcam-Z– This mast-mounted camera system is considered to be the “eyes” of the Perseverance Rover. It is equipped with 3D and high-speed imaging capabilities that allow the rover to examine distant objects with great detail. To put things in perspective, this camera system can see something as small as a housefly across the distance of a soccer field! Pretty Impressive!
MEDA– Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer is considered the “weatherman” on board the rover. Its primary function is to provide reports on weather conditions, wind speeds, and even radiation levels.
MOXIE– Known as the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment, is the size of a traditional car battery and was created as a test to see how oxygen can be produced on Mars for breathing and propellant. MOXIE is able to “breathe” as a tree does, where it would take in carbon dioxide, and put out oxygen.
PIXL– The Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry is responsible for searching for forms of “ancient life” on Mars using an x-ray spectrometer. Located at the end of the robotic arm of the rover, PIXL measures the chemical makeup of rocks at a small scale.
RIMFAX– As the full name for RIMFAX states, Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment, is a radar that provides images of the geological features of Mars that are below the surface of the Red Planet. It could be said that RIMFAX really gets to the “heart” of Mars and discovers the different layers that the planet has.
SHERLOC– Appearing to be quite the detective, SHERLOC, also known as Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals, is equipped on the front of the rover’s robotic arm with cameras (black and white and color), spectrometers, and even a laser (oooh laser!) and is tasked with collecting forensic clues and biosignatures on Mars.
SuperCam– Last, but not least, SuperCam iis mounted on the head of Perseverance, named for its “super” vision and senses, measures the chemical composition of rocks, dust, and atmospheric molecules to paint a picture of what may have existed on Mars in the past and what can exist as lifeforms on Mars in the future.
Now that you’re more acquainted with the equipment and functionality of the Perseverance Rover, it’s time to prepare for your trip to Mars (from the comfort of your own home).