Rover Perseverance da NASA procura vida em Marte
July 30, 2020 - O maior e mais evoluído veículo alguma vez enviado a Marte inicia uma jornada para procurar indícios de vida passada no planeta Vermelho – e para preparar o terreno para enviar seres humanos ao espaço profundo.
A car-sized, six-wheeled rover named Perseverance will touch down inside the 45km-wide Jezero Crater, the site of a river delta 3.5 billion years ago, on Feb 18, 2021. The mission is expected to last at least one Martian year - or 687 Earth days.
A solar-powered drone, fitted to the underside of the rover, will release before touchdown, making it the first man-made object to fly on another planet. On future missions, this helicopter-type instrument could guide humans exploring Mars.
Once on site, the rover will look for signs of previously habitable conditions and past microbial life, and assess the challenges facing future human expeditions, including testing for a method of producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere. It will also search for subsurface water, look at improved landing techniques and log weather, dust and other potential environmental conditions that could affect future astronauts living and working on Mars.
Mars 2020 will also collect and cache samples for future return to Earth, possibly by 2031.
The U.S. is not the only country sending unmanned spacecraft to Mars in the coming days. China and the United Arab Emirates are also launching probes with a view to sending their own astronauts in due course.