NASA’s Perseverance rover to let us hear what Mars sounds like for first time

Humanity will hear the sounds on the surface on Mars for the first time in history – as NASA chiefs revealed plans to carry a tribute to medics who battled coronavirus to the Red Planet.

NASA scientists today announced the space agency's £1.8bn Perseverance mission will film and record its 12,000mph landing to Earth's closest planetary neighbour on February 18.

Matt Wallace, Mars 2020 deputy project manager, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), revealed the Covid-19 pandemic could have stopped the historic launch to Mars to find signs of alien life six months ago.

The Perseverance rover is set to land on Jezero Crater after a more than 30 million mile journey – where there was a lake and a "habitable environment" where creatures on Earth "could have thrived" 3.5bn years ago, Professor Ken Farley, Mars 2020 project scientist added.

Mr Wallace added Perseverance is packed with state-of-the-art AI which will allow it to travel three times faster than any space rover before it.

He told a press conference: "We added a lot of surface autonomy, a lot of new AI if you will, to this vehicle so we can complete this mission on the surface.

"All of our mars rovers are self driving cars to some degree but Perseverance is going to go three times faster than any previous Mars rover so it can get that job done that we talked about in an expeditious and efficient on the surface."

He added: "We're carrying a lot of new landing technology. We have more surface intelligence, again more autonomy that's a feat.

"We are carrying a suite of ruggedised commercial high definition cameras, we are going to be able to watch ourselves for the first time land on another planet.

  • Dwarf planet satellite could be first human space colony as scientist snubs Mars

"We are carrying microphones to the surface of Mars so it'll be the first time we have been able to put that human sensory capability on the surface and see what we get. All of that is very exciting."

He showed the press conference a "Covid plate" designed by his team comprising an Earth, spaceship, and staff and serpent representing humanity working together, the mission being supported by the medical community.

Mr Wallace said: "Frankly having been doing this for three decades or so I thought I had seen just about everything until about a year ago when I was proven wrong and we all had to face the global pandemic.

  • Dinosaur remains 'likely to be found on the moon', scientists claim

"It was really the first time during the entire development where I felt the launch was actually in some jeopardy, it was just so comprehensive and so new.

"We are probably carrying this plate to Mars so that we will remember back here on earth in the year 2020 and 21 that there was a community who bravely stepped up and did their jobs so we could do ours."

Allen Chen, Mars 2020 entry, descent, and landing lead at JPL, said Perseverance will be moving more than at a whopping 12,000mph when it hits Mars' atmosphere and start its risky seven-minute descent to the surface.

  • NASA finds new planet with 'three suns' and super-rare corkscrew orbit

The rover will deploy 70ft long parachutes at twice the speed of sound to slow down to 160mph, before engaging its engines before coming to rest on the ground.

He said: "We've got cameras that are looking up the parachute so we will see that supersonic parachute inflate, this will be the first time we've ever seen that occur on another planet."

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator, added the new US president Joe Biden had already shown his support for space exploration after asking for a 3.9bn-year-old lunar rock from the Apollo 17 to be put on display at the White House.

Zurbuchen said: "At the request of the new administration, a rock from the Apollo 17 mission was delivered on loan on display at the oval office, a recognition of the bold, fearless ambitions and accomplishments of earlier generations and a symbol of the new administration's support from America's current Moon to Mars exploration approach and Perseverance is at the forefront of that work."

Source: Read Full Article