Home Current Affairs 2021-22

NASA's Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter

N.K. Chauhan in Science & Tech
Share this
Apr 20, 2021, Updated: May 21, 2022 · 2 min. read

Perseverance Rover has captured a solar eclipse on Mars. Mars has two small moons, Phobos and Deimos, that may be captured asteroids.

Perseverance rover

NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover will look for signs of past microbial life, cache rock and soil samples, and prepare for future human exploration.

It was launched in July of 2020 and after sailing through space for nearly seven months, landed safely on the floor of a vast Jezero Crater.

Perseverance is the most advanced astrobiology laboratory ever sent to another world.

Its primary aim is to search for possible fossilized signs of microbes that may have flourished on Mars some 3 billion years ago, when the planet was warmer, wetter and potentially hospitable to life.

Perseverance's payload also includes a device MOXIE (Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment) to convert the carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere into pure oxygen.

It also has a miniature helicopter (Ingenuity) designed to test the first powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet.

ISRU means In Situ Resource Utilization: or the use of local resources to meet human needs or requirements of the spacecraft.

NASA has been sending rovers on Mars since 1997 when the Mars Pathfinder Mission was initiated.

Perseverance's immediate predecessor, the rover Curiosity, landed in 2012 and remains in operation, as does the stationary lander InSight, which arrived in 2018 to study the deep interior of Mars.

Perseverance is fueled by electrical power by using heat of plutonium's radioactive decay.

Ingenuity helicopter

The helicopter had been fixed to the belly of the Perseverance rover, which touched down on the Red Planet on February 18, 2021.

NASA's Mars Ingenuity helicopter made history when the small but intrepid drone became the first powered craft to fly on another world.

Ingenuity arrived at Mars's Jezero Crater in February along with NASA's Perseverance rover, which was on hand to capture the historic flight on camera.

Ingenuity fly in an atmosphere that is one percent the density of Earth's, which makes achieving lift harder, but it was assisted by gravity that is one-third of Earth's.

Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE)

Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) was able to produce oxygen from the thin Martian atmosphere for the first time.

MOXIE produced 5 grams of oxygen from carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere, enough for an astronaut to breathe for 10 minutes.

Like a tree on Earth, MOXIE inhales carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen.

MOXIE separates oxygen atoms from carbon dioxide by using heat at a temperature of around 800 degrees Celsius, and in the process also releases carbon monoxide as a waste product.

As part of a future mission - for four astronauts to take off from Mars, would require around 7 metric tons of rocket fuel and 25 metric tons of oxygen - around the weight of an entire space shuttle.

Their job would become significantly easier if the liquified oxygen can be produced on the Red Planet with the help of MOXIE.

On Mars, carbon dioxide makes up ~96% of the gas in the planet's atmosphere. Oxygen is only 0.13%, compared to 21% in Earth's atmosphere.

Last seen in news on: Apr 26, 2022
Read next

India State of Forest Report 2021 (UP Special)

May 25, 2022 · 2 min read

Highlights of Union Budget 2022-23

May 25, 2022 · 6 min read

Highlights of "Economic Survey 2021-22"

May 25, 2022 · 10 min read

Uttar Pradesh current affairs (June 2022 to April 2022)

May 30, 2022 · 10 min read

Uttar Pradesh current affairs (March 2022 to January 2022)

May 30, 2022 · 4 min read