Mars landing comes down to final 6 minutes of 6-month trip

Mars landing comes down to final 6 minutes of 6-month trip

Mars landing comes down to final 6 minutes of 6-month trip

When the landing site search began, mission engineers already had refined the landing system such that they were able to reduce the Mars 2020 landing zone to an area 50 percent smaller than that for the landing of NASA's Curiosity rover at Gale Crater in 2012.

Nasa is hoping to make a historic landing on Mars next Monday.

The $2.5 billion (roughly Rs. 17,800 crores) rover is planned to launch in July 2020, and land in February 2021.

While Earth's tectonics and other forces have erased most evidence of its early history, much of Mars - about one-third the size of Earth - is believed to have remained relatively static for more than 3 billion years, creating a geologic time machine for scientists.

It won't be easy - the atmosphere on Mars is about 1% as thick as Earth's, which provides enough friction to burn up a spacecraft but makes it hard to slow down enough for a safe landing.

A similar discovery would mark a new era in the exploration of Mars, which started in 1965 when the United States launched its first mission to the red planet.

NASA said Jezero won out because of its mix of scientific promise and accessibility.

Mars landing comes down to final 6 minutes of 6-month trip

The crater is made of numerous boulders and rocks to the east, cliffs to the west and depressions filled with aeolian bedforms, which are wind-derived ripples in sand that could trap a rover, in several locations, NASA explained. It is considered the largest parking lot in Mars. "But what was once out of reach is now conceivable, thanks to the 2020 engineering team and advances in Mars entry, descent and landing technologies", he said.

It will touch down on a flat, smooth plain close to the planet's equator called the Elysium Planitia - a place where oddball alien hunters claim to have spotted a "crashed UFO" and an "extraterrestrial city".

Make sure you visit Metro.co.uk on the day as well to get all the news about this historic Mars landing. This is to ensure that the lander will enter Mars' atmosphere at the right angle.

Unlike the Curiosity and the Opportunity rovers sent as part of NASA's program to study the surface of the planet, the InSight's objective is to dig deep and listen for quakes. Mars is pretty cold today.

Robotic rover missions are an important part of human space exploration because these tools also help inform NASA's efforts to send people to the surface of Mars sometime in the coming decades.

If all goes well, MarCO may take a few seconds to receive and format the data before sending it back to Earth at the speed of light.

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