Published: 01st March 2021
What the FAQ: Here's everything you need to know about NASA's Perseverance Rover Mission on Mars
Rovers are essential tools in space exploration. Here's everything about them and NASA's new Perseverance Rover Mission
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover made history earlier this year by successfully landing on the red planet. Nearly seven months after its takeoff, the Perseverance rover landed at Mars' Jezero Crater on February 19, 2021. Here's all we know about NASA's rover mission.
What is a rover?
Ans: According to the universally accepted definition, a rover (or sometimes planetary rover) is a "planetary surface exploration device designed to move across the solid surface on a planet or other planetary-mass celestial bodies. Some rovers have been designed as land vehicles to transport members of a human spaceflight crew; others have been partially or fully autonomous robots. Rovers are typically created to land on another planet (other than Earth) via a lander-style spacecraft, tasked to collect information about the terrain and to take crust samples such as dust, soil, rocks, and even liquids."
Who is controlling NASA's Mars rover?
Ans: Professor Sanjeev Gupta, a scientist with NASA is controlling the Mars rover Perseverance from his flat in south London. Professor Gupta was supposed to be at mission control in California but the COVID-19 pandemic restricted him to his flat above a hairdresser in Lewisham. "I should be at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, in a series of offices each one about three times bigger than this lounge, full of hundreds of scientists and engineers with their heads buried in laptops surrounded by large screens," Professor Sanjeev Gupta told several news organisations. When he found out that he would not be able to work out of mission control in California, Professor Sanjeev Gupta decided to rent a one-bedroom flat in Lewisham.
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How much did the Rover mission cost?
Ans: Exploring Mars is a costly undertaking for whichever country takes it up. All previous missions to the red planet have cost billions of dollars and Perseverance is no different. NASA expects to spend $2.7 billion on the project according to research from The Planetary Society, a figure that is expected to rise to $2.9 billion when inflation adjustments are included at the end of its lifespan.
What has the rover found about Mars until now?
Ans: According to NASA's Mars exploration programme, the crater was filled with water to form a deep lake, but it dried up as the climate of the planet evolved. Perseverance rover will be used to explore the rocks of the ancient lake bed and return samples through other future missions.