As a reminder, Perseverance began its journey aboard the Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliance on July 30 this year, which means that it needs as much as 7 months to reach its destination. Specifically, it is the Jezero Crater, which is located on the edge of Isidis Planitia, a giant basin north of the Mars equator. If all goes according to plan, then a new era of research for the Red Planet will begin, which may provide answers to many questions that plague us, including the most important ones about the traces of life. It should not be forgotten that the Mars Helicopter, a drone called Ingenuity, flew with it, which, if it works, will enable the first controlled flights over the surface of Mars.
“While we're halfway the distance to Mars, the rover isn't halfway between the worlds at all. Because if we take the distance in a straight line, the Earth is 42.7 million km behind Perseverance and Mars 28.8 million km ahead of it, explains Julie Kangas, a member of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory team in California. The space agency also announced that thanks to the strong radio antennas of the Deep Space Network, it has constant contact with the rover and the Ingenuity drone and can check all systems - at the moment all instruments are in good condition.
“If it's part of our spacecraft and electricity flows through it, we want to confirm that it still works well after launch. Between these checks, along with charging the rover and drone's batteries, loading files and sequences for operations, and planning the maneuver trajectory, our main focus is landing, adds Keith Comeaux. It is worth noting that at the current distance from Earth, the signal needs 2 minutes and 20 seconds to reach the rover, and by the time it lands on the Red Planet, the delay will be approx. 11 minutes and 30 seconds. Due to this lag, it is impossible to take over manual control of the rover's landing, and in this respect NASA must rely on modern technology and previously loaded commands in the system.