NASA launched its “Perseverance” rover on Mars on Thursday to search for some traces of past lives, but also with a view to future manned missions: the United States wants to send astronauts to the red planet in the 2030s.
NASA launched its “Perseverance” mobile robot to Mars on Thursday, July 30. The robot is a new generation of six-wheeled rover and is equipped with a helicopter with the task of testing equipment for future manned missions and looking for traces of past lives on the planet.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket was launched as planned at 07:50 (11:50 GMT) from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in clear skies, for a journey of almost seven months.
This mission, the ninth American to Mars, cost $ 2.4 billion. “Endurance”, equivalent in size to a car, is expected to arrive in March next February.
Send astronauts to Mars in the 2030s
“It’s unlike any other robot we’re sent to Mars before, because it has an astrobiological purpose,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told Reuters. “We are looking for evidence of ancient life in another world,” he added.
The United States plans to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030s as part of a program to return to the moon to test for more ambitious crew trips to the Red Planet.
“A few hours after launch, ‘Perseverance’ is experiencing technical difficulties and currently only works with its essential features,” NASA said several hours after launch, while wanting to be reassured about the future of the mission.
“Data indicate that the ship has entered a state known as” safe “mode, possibly due to a part of the ship being a little cooler than expected.[lorsqu’il] was in the shadow of the earth, “said the US space agency.
After China and the Emirates
For its part, on July 24, China successfully launched an uninhabited probe to Mars as part of the country’s first independent exploration mission to another planet.
Eight units – launched by the United States, Europe and India – are currently in orbit around Mars or on its surface, and other missions are planned.
The United Arab Emirates also launched a mission to Mars on July 19 to study its atmosphere.
In the US, NASA launches its “Perseverance” rover to the planet Mars
With AFP and Reuters