Perseverance rover celebrating one year on Mars | This is a sophisticated vehicle sent to the red planet

Perseverance rover, the most complex exploration vehicle ever sent to Mars, Has successfully completed the first year of its long mission to search for traces of past life on the Red PlanetKeeping world scientists on edge.

February 18, 2021, NASA rover Landed on Mars After a seven-month journey. The world of researchers was breathless when the thin Mars landed in the atmosphere. The seven long minutes of “terrorism” ended in immense relief, with the vehicle safely reaching an ancient lake, Jessero Greater. It was followed Three months exploring the most hostile part.

“Martian soil is a dangerous terrain, full of rocks and large dunes,” described Bernell Bernardi, an engineer with the National Scientific Research Center (CNRS) responsible for the “eye” of the Franco-American instrument SuperCam.

In its early days, Was able to record sounds and send them to the inhabitants of the earth. “This is one of the best inventions of the year.No one has ever heard Mars speakSylvester Maurice, associate director of science at SuperCam and an astronomer at the University of Toulouse, recalled.

Maurice is in charge with Curiosity, a robotic American scientist who explores a red planet thousands of kilometers away in the Gale Valley. “We’re addicted, we’re discovering a new world, like fifteenth – century explorers,” he jokes.

Every day, he and his team check the latest information found on the vehicle. “In twelve months, We have collected a harvest of data on mineralogy, atmosphere and weatherAnd tens of thousands of pictures, “he says.

The date of the first anniversary of its mission coincides with millions of laser shots on Mars, a technology designed to study the chemical composition of rocks: about 885,000 shots with curiosity and 125,000 diligence.

The hardest part is operating the alternately and collectively shared vehicle every two weeks between the Cnes (French space agency) in Toulouse and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in the United States.

Every day, 100 to 200 people operate the machine. “One group wants to drive, the battery group ‘Wait, we’re too weak, we need to recharge’ (…),” says the scientist. “There are frustrations, but most of the time it’s a consensus … Americans have a real culture of compromise,” said Nicholas Mangold, CNRS researcher in charge of SuperCam. For him, being unable to meet physically this year due to an infection is the hardest thing.

So far, the diligence has run four kilometers, including the 500-meter record last weekend.

No need to rush: The goal of the mission is to take 40 well-selected samples in six years. Another mission goal is to bring them back to Earth in the 2030s. “You have to be patient, diligence is like a tortoise, very smart,” says Jim Bell, a professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona. Of the Mastcam-Z instrument.

Rover has already collected seven models, one of which failed (it was empty). “It’s a slow learning curve, but given the restrictions, I’m a happy scientist,” says the American astronomer.

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