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where to see LIVE landing today

The day has come; NASA’s mission on Mars will be accomplished. NASA’s Perseverance rover will land in the Jezero crater on the red planet at approximately 3:55 p.m. on February 18. Is it possible to see what the landing will be like? Can we continue the mission? If you want to accompany NASA during this historic moment, we will tell you where and how you can witness live the landing of the Perseverance rover to Mars; as well as all the details about it.

Approximately seven months after liftoff, NASA’s last Mars-bound vehicle, Perseverance, will still have to survive « seven minutes of terror » this Thursday, as the ultra-dangerous maneuver that precedes its landing has been called. on the red planet.

Where and how to see the Perseverance rover landing on Mars live?

The chosen location, Jezero Crater, is the most dangerous landing site ever attempted. In seven minutes, the vehicle must go from a speed of 20 thousand km / h to 0. Will it succeed?

If you want to witness this moment you can enter the channel NASA public television, the Nasa.gov page or from YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Twitch among other. We leave you the links so you can appreciate the moment live.

Here is the live video of this process, before, during and after the landing of the Perseverance rover to Mars:

The « seven minutes of terror » of Perseverance’s landing on Mars

Approximately seven months after liftoff, NASA’s last Mars-bound vehicle, Perseverance, will still have to survive « seven minutes of terror » this Thursday, as the ultra-dangerous maneuver that precedes its landing has been called. on the red planet.

The chosen location, Jezero Crater, is the most dangerous landing site ever attempted. In seven minutes, the vehicle must go from a speed of 20 thousand km / h to 0.

Perseverance is scheduled to land at 8:55 PM on Thursday.

Ten minutes before entering the atmosphere of Mars, it will separate from the cruise stage, which supplied it with fuel during the trip.

The rover will then be connected exclusively to the descent stage, both protected by two shields, the lower thermal one.

About 130 km from the surface of Mars, the mission will enter the atmosphere at a speed of 20,000 km / h. Friction will raise the temperature to 1,300 ° C. The lower shield will protect the rover from this infernal heat.

11 Kilometers open:

But the atmosphere is not enough to slow down the spacecraft, which is still going at 1,500 km / h. At an altitude of about 11 km, at an opportune moment calculated based on the distance remaining to the landing site, a 21-meter diameter parachute will be deployed, located on the upper shield. This will slow the device down to about 300 km / h.

9 Kilometers away: heat shield separation

20 seconds after opening the parachute, the heat shield will be released: the vehicle it was protecting is exposed for the first time to the atmosphere of Mars. At that point a totally new technology will come into play, called « Terrain Relative Navigation » (TRN): the images recorded live by the rover’s cameras are compared with maps recorded in its system and the dangerous areas to avoid are predefined. Taking this data into account, it will be decided where the rover lands.

At an altitude of about 2 km, the NASA vehicle will detach from the rear shield and parachute. The rover will separate from the descent stage, but first, thanks to its eight engines pointed towards the surface of Mars, it will have slowed the descent. After performing a maneuver away from the parachute, the rover will end up descending vertically to its landing point.

At 20 meters: Rover separation

At about 20 meters above the ground, the speed will be 2.7 km / h, slower than a person’s walking. Then, the rover will descend suspended by cables thanks to a system of pulleys during the last 15 seconds (stage called « skycrane »).

The vehicle will then unfold its wheels. When it hits the ground, the cables will be cut and the descent stage will move away to drop as far as possible. Due to the delay in transmission between Earth and Mars, when NASA confirms the landing, it will actually have taken place several minutes earlier.

This is looking for NASA on Mars

For the first time, the mission of the US space agency has the explicit objective of finding traces of ancient life on the red planet, collecting thirty rock samples over several years.

These will be brought to Earth on a mission planned for the 2030s to be analyzed, and perhaps finally be able to answer « one of the questions that have been with us for centuries, namely, are we alone in the Universe? » He said on Wednesday Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science.

Perseverance is the largest and most complex vehicle ever sent to Mars. Built at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, it weighs one ton and is equipped with a six-foot robotic arm and 19 cameras.

The mission will carry out a very dangerous maneuver on Thursday, at the riskiest landing site ever attempted, due to its relief: the Jezero crater.

Shortly after 20:30 GMT, it will enter the atmosphere of Mars at a speed of 20 thousand km / h protected by its heat shield that will be activated after the opening of a huge supersonic parachute. Eight motors pointed to the ground will slow it down and then its six wheels will descend, supported by cables, until they touch the ground.

« The sky seems clear to land tomorrow. But even with a clear sky, landing is the most dangerous part of the mission, and we cannot guarantee its success, » Allen Chen, responsible for the descent, recalled at a press conference.

If Perseverance arrives intact, the first images could be streamed soon after. Researchers believe that the Jezero crater housed a lake about 50 km wide for more than 3.5 billion years.

« We have very strong evidence that Mars may have supported life in the past, » Ken Williford, deputy director of the mission, said Wednesday. « The question is: is the Earth an anomaly, a stroke of luck? »

Scientists look for what they call biosignatures: traces of microbial life that « can take all kinds of forms, » ​​such as « chemicals » or « environmental changes, » said Mary Voytek, director of NASA’s astrobiology program.

« Astrobiologists have dreamed of this mission for decades, » he enthused.

« Either we find life, and that would be an exceptional find, or we will not, (…) and that will imply that not all habitable environments are inhabited, » warned Ken Farley, project scientist.

The first months of the mission will not be devoted to this first objective, but to parallel experiments.

NASA wants, in particular, to show that it is possible to fly a motor vehicle on another planet. The helicopter, dubbed Ingenuity, will try to rise in air with a density equivalent to 1% of that of the Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA will also experiment with oxygen production on Mars. An instrument called MOXIE, the size of a car battery, should be able to produce up to 10 g of oxygen in an hour, sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, in a process similar to that of a plant.

This oxygen could be used for breathing by humans going to Mars in the future, but also as fuel.

The SuperCam that is going to study Mars: will there be traces of past life?

Perched atop the US Perseverance rover, the SuperCam, designed by French scientists, will study Martian rocks with its laser beam and a microphone, looking for traces of past life on the red planet.

Two other European tools, the Spanish MEDA and the Norwegian RIMFAX, will be used to measure the atmospheric parameters of Mars and explore its subsurface, respectively.

The size of a shoebox and weighing five kilos, SuperCam will deploy its « superpowers » from the top of a pole, with additional US analysis and control tools attached to the body of the robot.

« It is a method of geophysical surveillance, which will indicate where to take a certain sample and examine its surroundings, » astrophysicist Sylvestre Maurice, from the Institute for Research in Astrophysics and Planetology (IRAP), who designed the instrument, told ..

Its older sister, ChemCam, which has been active on the American rover Curiosity since 2012, proved that Mars was habitable. Now it is up to Perseverance to find traces of life.

Its head is equipped with a laser beam, the firing of which on a rock, up to 7 meters away, vaporizes a tiny part in the form of plasma. The emitted light is analyzed by a spectrometer (LIBS) that reveals « the elements of which rocks are composed », such as iron, silicon or aluminum.

But « to discover possible signs of past life, you need more than chemistry. You have to analyze the molecules, do mineralogy, » explains the IRAP researcher. And therefore you have to be « much more ambitious, adding three techniques ».

With a green light laser shot, up to 12 meters long, associated with Raman spectrometry, which observes how the atoms of matter are organized and with an infrared spectrometer that will complete this observation by analyzing, up to the horizon, the way in which sunlight it is reflected by the objective under study.

Finally, a microphone, all « a premiere on Mars », will report on the hardness of the rock, thanks to the analysis of the « clack », the noise that the laser shot makes when hitting it.

Operating remotely, SuperCam will complement the two US « contact instruments », PIXL and SHERLOC. Located at the end of an articulated arm, at the bottom of the robot, they will study the chemical composition and look for a biological trace in the rocks, respectively.

SuperCam laser shots will help select the best targets and « clean » the surface prior to study by PIXL and SHERLOC.

« The idea is that an instrument must answer several questions and that a question must find its answer with several instruments, » adds Sylvestre Maurice, whose institute, the IRAP, will share, from an operational center at the National Center for Space Studies (CNES ) the piloting of SuperCam with Los Álamos National Laboratory (LANL), in the United States.

« If signs of life are perceived with one tool, you have to confirm them with the others, » he explains.

But the final judge will be the return to Earth, in a few years, with the samples collected by Perseverance.

Until then, « we all help everyone », adds the scientist, citing for example the importance of the Norwegian tool RIMFAX, equipped with a radar that studies the subsoil, and the Spanish MEDA that will measure, among other things, the size and shape of the dust. which could cloud SuperCam’s infrared measurements.

This last instrument is the result of the work of a « great team », of about 200 people, working in various laboratories, under the supervision of the CNES.

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