“Here Mars, Jezero crater. Everything is fine, the landing was ok ». When the message from the Perseverance rover arrived at the Mission Control Center in Pasadena, California at 9:55 pm from the Red Planet, the tension was released and the applause, hugs and even the tears of those who followed for almost seven months and 471 million kilometers the long journey to Mars. After the applause, the controllers “confirmed that the rover, with the Ingenuity helicopter attached to its belly, has landed safely and the engineers are analyzing the data flowing from the spacecraft.”

Comments and compliments

Former Vice President Mike Pence was the first to congratulate NASA on Twitter for success. “Italy has a leading role in space exploration and in the very ambitious Mars Sample Return program of which the Perseverance rover is the first chapter,” commented the president of the Italian space agency, Giorgio Saccoccia. In fact, Perseverance has a robotic arm that can be extended for over 2 meters to take soil samples that will be stored in capsules which will be sent to Earth by a subsequent mission. “It’s the beginning of a new era,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s chief scientist.

And give

It is the fifth American rover to land safely on the red surface after Sojourner (1997), Spirit and Opportunity (2004) and Curiosity (2012). The precursor landers Viking 1 and 2, which, however, could not move once landed, date back to 1976. Perseverance, which is part of the Mars 2020 mission, is the largest and most technologically advanced of all: it is as big as an SUV, it has a mass weighing over a ton, it is two meters long, 2.70 wide and 2.20 high. It carries a series of scientific equipment powered by a plutonium-238 generator that ensures a constant flow of energy. Among the main tools is the Ingenuity drone, which will make the first flight in history to Mars. The mission, costing 2.7 billion dollars, is expected to last 687 Earth days but if all goes well it could be extended.

February 18, 2021 (change February 19, 2021 | 01:42)

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