March 7, 2021

An interactive map to accompany ‘Perseverance’ on his Martian journey

Longitude 77.44537353515625 and latitude 18.492633354495656, Mars. That is the location where you are in the ‘Perseverance’ space vehicle, which descended on the planet this Thursday. From now on, the movements of this explorer can be monitored by any Internet user thanks to an interactive map designed by NASA.

The software makes it possible to accompany ‘Perseverance’ on its journey through the Jezero crater, almost 50 kilometers in diameter, located in the Martian northern hemisphere and especially rich in clay lake sediments, indicating that it was a lake that dried up thousands of years ago. million years and where the explorer hopes to find remains of life.

For the map, NASA engineers have created a high-resolution digital topographic model from real images. “Thus, essential information can be provided to the explorers drivers, who need to know the steepness of the hills to plan their way through this rocky terrain,” the US agency indicates on the map’s website.

The rover has already started sending signals to Earth and calibrating its instruments. It is already working together with other devices sent to unravel the mysteries of the planet, and among them the ExoMars-TGO that the European Space Agency and the Russian Roscosmos put into Martian orbit to know its atmosphere and detect gases that could be somehow linked to a biological activity.

The new rover, the most advanced and sophisticated of those to have landed on Mars, is equipped with complex instruments, many of which have been designed and developed in Spain before its assembly in the robot, precisely to gather information that will be vital for the manned ships of the future.

Perseverance will try to collect samples from the Martian surface and send them to Earth, although it will be another mission, in this case jointly by NASA and the European Space Agency, which will be in charge of collecting these packages in 2026. .

The interest in Mars, today an icy planet, lies in the resemblance it had “only” 3.5 billion years ago to the Earth, because then it had deep oceans, liquid water, a temperature above zero and a dense atmosphere, and because deep knowledge of this evolution can reveal how the Earth will do it too.


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