Mars lands in Cité de l'Espace

Mars lands in Cité de l’Espace

meOn July 4, 1997, the United States celebrated its National Day by placing the first moving robot, Sojourner, on the surface of Mars. Coincidentally, in Toulouse, the Cité de l’espace was opened a few days before the event that was supposed to disturb the exploration of the Red Planet.

A quarter of a century later, the city itself decided to put Mars at the center of its activities and this is no longer a coincidence: since 1997, five more vehicles have landed there; The US-European Mars sample return program has begun, which is supposed to be completed in 2031; The return to the Moon is seen as a rehearsal prior to the human conquest of Mars; Finally, some, like Elon Musk, begin to dream aloud about colonization for the long haul, almost. As we understood, Mars will be increasingly in the news over the next few years, and the Center for Scientific Culture in Toulouse, the European space capital, will only be able to support this phenomenon.

Distinctive ocher color

In this red circus, the last two tenants of Mars will enter several times a day, the American rover Perseverance and its Chinese colleague Zhurong. These are also life-size replicas but are much faster than their models, and are moving around the Red Planet very slowly and carefully. For the safety of the public, don’t get caught up in laser shots by the original rovers in order to remotely analyze the chemical composition of Martian rocks.

One animator controls an American rover twice against a hundred people to experience the real vehicle

Another difference with reality: one animatronic remotely controls the weakness of the American rover while, “To fly a real plane, you need a hundred people per day, Remembers Sylvester Morris, an astrophysicist at the Institute for Research in Astrophysics and Planetary Science (IRAP), whose team introduced the SuperCam persistence instrument. Some take care of the wheels, others take care of the motors, tools, batteries, etc. » However, the Perseverance from Toulouse uses its articulated arm to represent a specimen of Mars.

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So the intent is to make it clear to the public how and why Mars exploration, its obstacles, and researchers’ ambitions. But, despite all the efforts made for reconstruction, some details remind us that we are on Earth, like strong winds that clean the blue sky, while Mars is pink …

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