"What a wonderful day": NASA celebrates a successful landing on Mars

“What a wonderful day”: NASA celebrates a successful landing on Mars

“What a nice day”
NASA celebrates a successful landing on Mars

After 203 days of flight, the “persevering” American robot will land on Mars. NASA President Jurczyk talks about an important moment for international space research. But the rover’s real mission has only begun now.

The “persistent” US spacecraft has successfully landed on the surface of Mars. “The landing has been confirmed,” she said Thursday from the NASA Control Center in Pasadena, California, and applause and cheers erupted among the engineers and scientists. A few minutes after its landing, “Perseverance” sent its first pixelated black and white images – including the rover’s wheels and shadows as well as the surface and horizon of Mars.

“What a wonderful day,” said Steve Goerchek, Acting Head of NASA. “What an amazing team that has worked through all the adversities and challenges that come with the Mars rover landing – then the challenges of the Corona pandemic.” US President Joe Biden used Twitter to congratulate everyone who participated in the successful landing: “Today it is proven once again that nothing is impossible with the power of American science and prowess.”

The robot was launched in July 2020 from the Cape Canaveral space port, and the robot landed – after 203 days flying and covered 472 million kilometers – in a risky maneuver that took several minutes in a dry lake called “Jezero Crater” that had not been previously examined at the site. . ‘Perseverance’ is to examine this lake, which has a diameter of about 45 km, over the next two years. NASA Administrator Matt Wallace said that according to preliminary results, the spacecraft was in good condition after landing.

It took eight years to build “perseverance”

It took eight years to develop and build the robot, which cost about $ 2.5 billion – about € 2.2 billion. He is supposed to search for traces of past microbial life on Mars and research the planet’s climate and geology. In addition, the robot should assist in preparations for the manned exploration of Mars planned in the 1930s, said Acting NASA Chief Gorshik. “This landing is one of those key moments for NASA, the United States and global space exploration.”

The robot, which weighs about 1,000 kilograms and is the size of a small car, has seven scientific instruments, 23 cameras, lasers and several NASA premieres on board a small helicopter, and for the first time samples are returned to Earth from a Mars development mission in conjunction with the European Space Agency. ESA.

“It’s all so surreal.”

Due to the Corona pandemic, only about half of the NASA employees who would normally work there during this maneuver were in the control center. They wore masks with a picture of the rover, maintained a distance between them and each other and after making sure of the successful landing they did not embrace each other as usual, but clapped their fists together in jubilation. Chief engineer Rob Manning said, “The team is scary, everything is so surreal.” It had been previously revealed that the large plastic box of peanuts, which is usually passed over before this landing attempt and was supposed to bring good luck, has been replaced by individual packages for everyone.

At a press conference a few hours after the successful landing, NASA Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen symbolically tore apart the contingency plan that had been drawn up and printed on paper for the mission’s failure. “Perseverance” is already the fifth vehicle that NASA brings to Mars – the last time Curiosity arrived there was in 2012. Overall, however, half of all Mars missions launched around the world have yet to be successful.

Last week, space probes from the United Arab Emirates and China successfully entered the planet’s orbit in rapid succession. “Hope”, the Emirati probe, is not supposed to land, and the Chinese spacecraft “Tianwen 1” is scheduled to land in two to three months.

“I am safe on Mars,” it was said after landing on the Twitter account “Persever.” “Perseverance will get you anywhere.” The landing was also confirmed on NASA’s Twitter account – with the addition: “The countdown to Mars is over, but the mission has just begun.”

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