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“Landing” or “landing”? doubts about the correct term to describe the arrival of Perseverance to Mars

Photograph provided this Wednesday by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that shows an illustration of the Perseverance rover as it lands safely on the surface of Mars.  EFE / Emma Howells / NASA Photograph provided this Wednesday by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that shows an illustration of the Perseverance rover as it lands safely on the surface of Mars. . / Emma Howells / NASA

As humanity faces one of the greatest milestones in its race to explore space, the questions are multiplying. Will NASA accomplish one of the most ambitious missions in its history? Will the collection of microbes for which Perseverance was conceived give us more information about extraterrestrial life? and finally: How should we refer to this event? Is it landing or landing?

Although we are tempted to launch new terms in the face of phenomena that are very different from the arrival at any airport in a medium-sized plane, the truth is that the linguistic authorities of the Spanish language have already settled this debate in previous years, urging us not to innovate, at least this time, with the language.

FILE PHOTO.  Image of the Rover Perseverance, the largest and most sophisticated laboratory spacecraft to reach Mars, in an illustration courtesy of the US space agency.  NASA / JPL-Caltech / Handout via REUTERS.  ATTENTION EDITORS: THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY FILE PHOTO. Image of the Rover Perseverance, the largest and most sophisticated laboratory spacecraft to reach Mars, in an illustration courtesy of the US space agency. NASA / JPL-Caltech / Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS: THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY

In 2012, on the occasion of the arrival of the exploration robot Curiosity on Mars, the Fundación del Español Urgente (Fundéu) said that “landing is ‘landing on solid ground or a similar surface’ – so it can be used for the action of descending on the surface of any planet, satellite or comet ”.

In other words, yes, it can and is indeed what the Perseverance rover will do this afternoon on Mars: a “Landing”, and not a “landing”.

However, the Royal Spanish Academy seems to conceive this dilemma in a more flexible way, defining “amartize” in the following way: “Said of a spaceship: To land on the surface of the planet Mars”. Thus, there is also the verb “lunar landing” in reference to “landing on the surface of the Moon”, as well as “lunar landing”, “landing” and “rushing” (reaching the surface of a comet).

Perseverance's mission on Mars Perseverance’s mission on Mars

“Although it is about well-formed words in Spanish, their use is discouraged because ‘landing’ already refers to that action: (said of an airplane or any flying device) to land after a descent maneuver, on the mainland or on any runway or surface that serves this purpose, ‘”says Fundéu.

So the question that arises is whether the term in question -landing- refers to planet Earth, or if, on the contrary, it refers to the ground, of any body.

In the previous definition of the Fundéu BBVA, which in effect works with the advice of the Royal Spanish Academy, the word “Earth” appears as a common name, that is, as equivalent to “surface”, to “soil”, and not as the proper name of our planet:Land”. Therefore, it is not a question of landing on planet Earth, but of doing so on any track or surface, including those of aircraft carriers.

Photograph provided this Wednesday by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) where an illustration of the "aeroshell" containing the Perseverance rover as it rotates in preparation for a safe landing on the surface of Mars.  The nearly seven-month journey from Earth to Mars by the Perseverance space probe will end this Thursday with a challenging landing attempt on the red planet that no one will be able to follow in real time due to the 11-minute communications difference between the two planets.  EFE / Emma Howells / NASA / EDITORIAL USE ONLY / ONLY AVAILABLE TO ILLUSTRATE THE ACCOMPANYING NEWS (MANDATORY CREDIT) Photograph provided this Wednesday by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) showing an illustration of the “aeroshell” containing the Perseverance rover as it rotates in preparation for a safe landing on the surface of Mars. The nearly seven-month journey from Earth to Mars by the Perseverance space probe will end this Thursday with a challenging landing attempt on the red planet that no one will be able to follow in real time due to the 11-minute communications difference between the two planets. . / Emma Howells / NASA / EDITORIAL USE ONLY / ONLY AVAILABLE TO ILLUSTRATE THE ACCOMPANYING NEWS (MANDATORY CREDIT)

Now yes. All set for landing on MarsAfter seven and a half months of travel, and at a speed of more than 20,000 km / h, Perseverance and all of humanity, live, will reach the red planet.

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