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NASA’s Perseverance rover:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

 

Context:

Nasa’s Perseverance rover has completed a full Earth year on Mars after its successful landing on February 19, 2021.

 

During this period on the Red Planet, the rover has completed many firsts from its ambitious to-do list:

  1. Collected the first rock cores from another planet.
  2. Served as a base station for Ingenuity helicopter.
  3. Extracted oxygen from thin Martian air.
  4. It broke a record for the most distance driven by a rover on Mars in a single day by travelling almost 320 meters on February 14.
  5. Tested the first prototype oxygen generator on the Red Planet, called MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment).

 

About Perseverance Rover:

NASA’s Perseverance rover is exploring the Jezero Crater on Mars and attempting to collect its first rock samples.

  • It was launched in 2020 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V.

 

Why is this mission significant?

  1. It carried a unique instrument, MOXIE or Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment: which for the first time manufactured molecular oxygen on Mars using carbon dioxide from the carbon-dioxide-rich atmosphere (ISRU means In Situ Resource Utilization: or the use of local resources to meet human needs or requirements of the spacecraft).
  2. It carried Ingenuity, the first ever helicopter to fly on Mars.
  3. It is the planned first step to bring back rock samples from Mars for analysis in sophisticated laboratories on Earth: with the goal of looking for biosignatures: or signatures of present or past life.

 

These are some of the key mission objectives:

  1. Look for signs of ancient microbial life.
  2. Collect Martian rock and dust samples for later return to Earth.
  3. Deliver an experimental helicopter.
  4. Study the climate and geology of Mars.
  5. Demonstrate technology for future Mars missions.

 

What is the reason for the near-term interest in Mars?

  1. Mars is located in the very near backyard (about 200 million km away).
  2. It is a planet that humans can aspire to visit or to stay for a longer duration.
  3. Mars had flowing water and an atmosphere in the distant past: and perhaps conditions to support life.
  4. It also has implications for commercial travel.

 

Insta Curious:

Know about Mars in brief – the history, atmosphere, gravity and explorations

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Missions to Mars.
  2. Perseverance- objectives.
  3. Instruments onboard.
  4. About the UAE’s Hope and China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft.
  5. Pathfinder mission.
  6. About the UAE’s Hope and China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft.
  7. Pathfinder mission.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the mission.

Sources: Indian Express.