“We simply knew it at the time. I’m really excited!” We saw the pictures come back from another world. ”With these words, Eleni Ravani, the Greek researcher who participated in NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance mission, describes to NEA for the seconds The historical record in which the robotic probe safely touched the Earth of the Red Planet.The spacecraft had already traveled 471 million kilometers in six and a half months, aiming to discover traces of ancient life on Mars. ”The Greek researcher, who was in“ contact ”with it in the past, explains: Mankind is now from the conquest of the Red Planet “: As a planetary researcher and doctoral candidate at the University of Hawaii, she worked for several months in” perseverance, “but before that he worked for two years in Spain on the ESA’s Mars Express mission.
“The Perseverance spacecraft that landed last Thursday will look for signs of ancient life on Mars,” he told NEA, explaining the mission’s scientific forecast. This is the first part of a series of missions by NASA and the European Space Agency that will collect samples from the surface of Mars and transport them to Earth. Ms Ravani said: “What is particularly important in this case is where the spacecraft landed: This is the Jezero crater, which is It is believed that it was once a lake in which life could live. Perseverance is the most technologically advanced space device in history. It is like a car that has many new scientific-technological tools attached to it. One of them is the Mastcam-Z, also on the team I’m part of, that can take enlarged images of the Martian surface. Among other things, it also has a MEDA weather station. The car will take many pictures and take measurements using these special tools, in order to learn more about the region and help us better understand what is happening on Mars. “
People are on Mars
But how far are we from human exploration of the planet? Humans have been walking on Mars for several years. However, “March 2020” brings us one step closer to that, the researcher said, “because one of the main goals of the mission is to help us prepare for this human exploration.”
I’ll explain to you in two examples what this means: We have an experiment called “MOXIE”, which is going to collect carbon dioxide from the red planet’s atmosphere and convert it into oxygen. This kind of technology could one day be used by humans. Also from the MEDA data, which I mentioned above, we will study how atmospheric dust could affect future technology on Mars, that is, human life support systems. The samples that we will get from the planet will also be based on some new technologies necessary for the safe passage of people to Mars and for their return. “
According to Ms. Ravani, the first part of the mission is expected to last … a Martian year, equivalent to about two years on Earth, “but if the spacecraft remains thriving, it may continue to operate for many years, as it did with the Curiosity rover.”
Tasks like these require, after all, long intense work. “I have been working on the project for a few months, but some of my colleagues have been working on the mission for many years. At the moment of their successful joining, I felt very happy for them too,” adds the Greek researcher. “Now we have a new future ahead. The information that we will gather will help us better understand not only the past of Mars but also our past, that is, the past of the Earth. We hope to answer the question: Was life created on Mars before?” And through this, to prepare our next step. We have already started. Scientific discussions with researchers from all over the world about the data we are receiving and this is exciting. I look forward to the rover moving to the surface and pulling more material. Of course to bring the samples that it will collect back to Earth, because after that the mission “Mars 2020 will be successful.” Oh really”.