NASA’s Mission To Mars

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NASA’s Mars Exploration Program

NASA is making advancements in their mission to explore Mars. On July 30, 2020, at 11:50 A.M. (EDT), NASA launched the Perseverance Rover from the Beverand County Florida CCAFS Space Launch Complex 41 into space, addressing the spacequest as the Mars Perseverance mission.

NASA’s Mars Exploration Program
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According to NASA, “Mars Perseverance mission addresses high-priority science goals for Mars exploration, including key questions about the potential for life on Mars. The mission takes the next step by not only seeking signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past, but also searching for signs of past microbial life itself.

While searching for any potential sign of previous life on Mars, scientists and engineers are also exploring the limits of the possibility of having human life on Mars. The Mars perseverance rover includes a new X-ray technology that can detect fossils of possible ancient life on Mars.

NASA elaborates, “Nearly every mission that has successfully landed on Mars, from the Viking landers to the Curiosity rover, has included an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer of some kind. One major way PIXL differs from its predecessors is in its ability to scan rock using a powerful, finely-focused X-ray beam to discover where – and in what quantity – chemicals are distributed across the surface.”

NASA is researching if Mars holds the potential to house human lives. From studying the chemicals in Mars’s rocks and soil, searching for vital resources like water flow, engineering a way to produce oxygen in Mars’s atmosphere, to exploring environmental conditions such as dust and weather that could impact future astronauts headed to Mars, NASA is doing it all.

NASA points out that, “The mission also provides opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars. These include testing a method for producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, identifying other resources (such as subsurface water), improving landing techniques, and characterizing weather, dust, and other potential environmental conditions that could affect future astronauts living and working on Mars.”

Adam Stelzner, the Chief Executive of the NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance mission, who also worked to create the highly successful “Sky-Crane” landing system for the Curiosity Rover, explains that it took years of hard work and dedication to design Curiosity, a previous Mars Rover: “It had been a long time right we had committed almost a decade of our lives.” “A huge team, over 3,170 folks at the lab worked on that mission over the span of its time. Thousands others in over 37 states and seven other countries all had committed their blood, sweat and tears to the effort of building that rover.”

As of now, the Perseverance Rover is still on its 7-month journey to reach Mars. The spacecraft will continue to travel through space until it touches down at Mar’s Jerozo crater on Friday, February 18, 2021.