Red Rover, Red Rover, Perseverance is Coming Over…

Waaaaaay back on August 6, 2012 I wrote about how NASA, which represented only 0.40% of the US Government’s total workforce, and in 2010 used about 0.52% of the US Federal Budget, built the Mars Science Laboratory named “Curiosity” and successfully landed it within the Gale Crater on the planet Mars over 110,310,000 miles away. Designed to last 687 Earth days, Curiosity is still running 3097 days after touching down.

And, on February 18th, 2021, if it can survive a landing described by NASA as “seven minutes of terror“, Curiosity will be joined by slightly heavier companion named “Perseverance”: Another $2.7 billion dollar, nuclear-powered wheeled vehicle the size of a small SUV and bristling with scientific instruments, including it’s own tiny helicopter.

The landing of Perseverance into the Jezero Crater will be exactly like that of Curiosity, requiring a 1600-degree Fahrenheit atmospheric entry, the world’s largest & strongest supersonic parachute, a “sky crane”, 76 explosive devices, and all happening automatically using a plethora of sensors and micro-thrusters expertly choreographed by some incredibly smart software.

Curiosity's Mars Landing Profile

(Makes the Moon Landing look easy)

During it’s planned two-year mission, Curiosity will roam around the Jezero Crater, measuring the Mars climate, sampling and testing the local geology to identify possible signs of life, determining the composition of Martial soil, and helping us determine if living on Mars is possible. And, like Curiosity, Perseverance’s mission life will be limited by the nuclear fuel it carries on board to about 14 years.

Congratulations to NASA on another impressive aerospace achievement – one even more impressive considering only 30% of attempted landings on Mars have been successful.

And the most impressive part? Putting aside NASA’s new-found “social awareness” of all things “Woke“, NASA continues to provide one impressive achievement after another in spite of budget cuts – a lesson many other agencies throughout all levels of government would be wise to learn.

NASA’s website documenting Perseverance and its’ mission updates can be found here.

Thanks for reading!

This entry was posted in Environment, History, Technology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Why ask?