NASA's first Mars sample collection mission prepares to land

Source : IANS 2021-02-18 14:55:35

After a nearly seven-month journey to Mars, NASA's Perseverance rover, its first mission to collect Martian broken rock and dust, is slated to land at a tricky terrain of the Red Planet on February 18.

The rover will characterise the planet's geology and past climate and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet.

The Perseverance rover, NASA's most sophisticated rover yet, will try to land at the Red Planet's Jezero Crater.

But the very features that make the site fascinating to scientists also make it a relatively dangerous place to land -- a challenge that has motivated rigorous testing here on Earth for the lander vision system (LVS) that the rover will count on to safely touch down.

"Jezero is 28 miles wide, but within that expanse there are a lot of potential hazards the rover could encounter: hills, rock fields, dunes, the walls of the crater itself, to name just a few," said Andrew Johnson, Principal Robotics Systems Engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in southern California.