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Perseverance landing another “7 minutes of terror” for NASA

28 Dec 2020, 16:32 UTC
Perseverance landing another “7 minutes of terror” for NASA
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NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover, launched from Cape Canaveral on 30 July 2020, will reach its target on 21 February, plunging directly into the red planet’s atmosphere before its rocket-powered “sky crane” carrier lowers it to the surface in Jezero crater. The same technique was successfully used by the Curiosity rover in 2012, but engineers still refer to the high-speed descent to touchdown as “seven minutes of terror.” An animation from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows why, illustrating the entry sequence in riveting detail.
Assuming Perseverance makes it down intact, the $2.4 billion nuclear-powered rover will search for possible biosignatures of past microbial life, characterise the habitability of past environments in Jezero crater and cache rock and soil samples for possible retrieval and return to Earth by a future spacecraft.

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