March: how Perseverance will look for traces of life

The Perseverance robot, which landed on Mars on February 18, is loaded with cameras. As soon as day breaks on the red planet, he shoots non-stop photos. NASA, by associating 149 photos very exactly, managed to take a panoramic view of the landing site. You can go around the horizon and see cliffs that measure 150 meters above sea level. The rover’s missions must last at least two years. Curiosity, which preceded it, has been in operation for eight years.

Perseverance is a big vehicle that weighs over a ton, a real laboratory on wheels. He will survey the bottom of the crater where he landed, the Jezero crater, which was the bottom of a lake 3.5 billion years ago. To find his way around, he will be helped by a small helicopter, which will take pictures to detect interesting sites.

To find out whether or not there was life on Mars, Perseverance will analyze the rocks. The operation will be carried out using a laser camera designed in Toulouse (Haute-Garonne). Cores in the ground will also be carried out to carry out chemical and optical analyzes in order to find biological traces on the rocks.

These samples should return to Earth, when another robot will come to collect them in 2026 to put them in orbit of Mars. A machine currently in design will then pick up the cores to bring them back to Earth.

The JT

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