CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida | Despite some technical difficulties, the take-off went well, Thursday morning, for the mobile robot Perseverance that began its long journey of nearly seven months to the planet Mars on board of the rocket Atlas V.
“It is really fantastic to be away after all the work done by this team,” said Bobby Braun, a senior executive from NASA, after the launch.
During his mission, the Perseverance will attempt to find traces of ancient microbes may be occupied the red planet, there are more than three billion years.
The Quebec Farah Alibay will be part of the team which will control the remote, once his arrival on the red planet.
“There is a team of explorers. We discover things on Mars that nobody had seen before […] I really hope in my career to have the chance to discover more planets like this, ” she said Thursday in an interview with The Journal.
The Atlas V rocket took off Thursday as planned, at 7: 50 a.m. from Cape Canaveral in Florida, in a clear sky, for a journey of nearly 480 million km.
However, a few hours after the launch, the rocket was faced with technical difficulties and was operating using only its essential functions, said NASA.
“The data indicate that the vessel is entered in a state known as safe mode, probably because a part of the ship was a little colder than anticipated [when he] was in the shadow of the Earth,” said the us space agency, pretending to be reassuring.
Delays in communications between the ship and the control center, located in California have also been noted.
“Everything I’ve seen so far seems to be correct, and we will know more quickly,” when teams will have studied the telemetry data, says Matt Wallace, deputy chief of mission.
If it arrives intact February 18, 2021, Perseverance will be only the fifth robot exploration to make the trip since 1997.
A first flight
The rover, or astromobile in French, carries with him a mini-helicopter to 1.8 kg named Ingenuity that will attempt the first flight of a device on another planet.
If he manages to take off in the air very end of March, dense as 1 % of the earth’s atmosphere, it would be a first step towards planetary exploration by the air, of great interest to NASA, since the rover can only travel only a few tens of kilometres in their life, and are vulnerable to the reliefs.
Perseverance has been designed to mount obstacles high of 40 cm. It has 19 cameras and two microphones, which may be the first to record sound on mars.
The crawler Perseverance
The rover will collect thirty samples of rocks, in pipes that are expected to be repatriated on Earth during a future mission, american-european, at the earliest in 2031.
–With Roxane Trudel