NASA on Monday gave a green light technique at the launch on Thursday of the rover’s six wheels Perseverance to Mars, where the robot will seek traces of ancient microbes may have inhabited the planet there are more than three billion years. It will land on February 18, 2021.
“We are indeed ready for the launch,” said NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine, during a press conference, proud of having held the calendar in spite of the pandemic of COVID-19. “We have persevered, we have protected this mission, because it is very important”.
The launch will take place at 7: 50 on Thursday from Cape Canaveral in Florida, using an Atlas V rocket of United Launch Alliance.
“I would never have believed that a director of launch to be able to work from home, but this is what I have done these last five months ago,” he said, amused, Omar Baetz, responsible for the launch of the u.s. space agency.
The rovers earlier in the United States have shown that the red planet had been “habitable”, that is to say that the conditions we think are conducive to the emergence of life (carbon, water, favorable climate) were present.
But we still don’t know if it was inhabited, and this mission, which was decided in 2012 and called “Mars 2020”, will attempt to answer the question.
“This is the first time in history that NASA has dedicated a mission to what is called the astrobiology: the search for life, can be current or ancient life in a different world,” said Jim Bridenstine.
Perseverance, improved version of the robot Curiosity , which rolls on Mars since 2012, and will conduct analyses of martian rocks with its on-board instruments designed in particular by researchers in France and Spain, but above all, he will take samples of rocks, which he would leave to the surface in sealed tubes to be retrieved by a future mission, and back to Earth in 2031.
Only the Americans have so far been able to land robots intact on Mars: four landers (fixed), and four rovers (Pathfinder, Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity, the only one still alive).
But China will try next year its first-ever landing on Mars: its mission Tianwen-1 was launched last week, with the landing of a robot with four wheels set in may 2021.