A NASA robot landed on Mars last night in a 292million-mile search for extraterrestrial life. The US space agency’s Perseverance rover finally to
A NASA robot landed on Mars last night in a 292million-mile search for extraterrestrial life.
The US space agency’s Perseverance rover finally touched down on the Red Planet after an incredible seven-month journey.
Scientists held their breath during the “seven minutes of terror” as the vehicle plunged through the thin Mars atmosphere before landing.
Experts were especially nervous because it faced an 11½-minute communication lag as the landing approached — so the rover was on its own, unable to rely on controllers.
But then a huge cheer erupted from the control room as it was confirmed the landing was a success. Nasa chief Steve Jurczyk called it “amazing”.
Perserverance’s Twitter account posted a picture of the surface of Mars with the message: “Hello, world. My first look at my forever home.
“I’m safe on Mars. Perseverance will get you anywhere.”
The Mars 2020 mission aims to collect samples of the planet’s rocks and gravel — which will help scientists learn whether there was ever life there.
The rover, nicknamed Percy, will scoop up the materials, which will then be set aside until 2026 when a retrieval craft is launched to collect them.
It means scientists will not get their hands on them until the early 2030s — should plans by Nasa and the European Space Agency go smoothly.
A special space helicopter, the Ingenuity, is attached to the belly of Perseverance.
The drone-like tech — its body the size of a box of tissues — is set to be switched on today.
If everything goes to plan, it will be released to attempt a series of 90-second flights, scoping the terrain for areas of interest for its rover buddy.
LIFE ON MARS?
NASA Perseverance rover beams back pics as hunt for alien life-forms begins
RED SKY AT NIGHT
How to see Mars with naked eye as Nasa rover lands there THIS week
ON A MISSION
Mars Perseverance rover – what is it & how long will it be on the Red Planet?
Stunning 4K footage of MARS captured by Nasa’s Curiosity rover revealed
How long does it take to get to Mars?
Plutonium-powered Percy will charge its batteries overnight as it sleeps.
The team will work on Mars time where days are about 40 minutes longer than Earth’s.
Buzz Aldrin, 91, the second man to walk on the Moon in 1969, posted a video of himself watching the landing and wrote: “Perseverance pays off!”
GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]