China’s Mars craft enters parking orbit before landing rover
China says its Tianwen-1 spacecraft has entered a temporary parking orbit around Mars in anticipation of landing a rover on the red planet in the coming months. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)BEIJING – China says its Tianwen-1 spacecraft has entered a temporary parking orbit around Mars in anticipation of landing a rover on the red planet in the coming months. A successful bid to land Tianwen-1 would make China only the second country after the U.S. to place a spacecraft on Mars. AdTianwen, the title of an ancient poem, means “Quest for Heavenly Truth.”Landing a spacecraft on Mars is notoriously tricky. In 2011, a Mars-bound Chinese orbiter that was part of a Russian mission didn’t make it out of Earth orbit.
Photos show NASA’s Mars rover coming in for landing
Following the touchdown on Mars Thursday NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover team are already getting back images taken during the entry, descent and landing also known as “seven minutes of terror” that happened about 300 million miles away from Earth. [NASA is expected to share more images, including video the Mars landing during a news briefing at 2 p.m. Monday. This image captured by a spacecraft shows NASA's Perseverance rover midair, floating over Mars while hanging from its parachute during the final moments before landing. The first color image from NASA's Perseverance rover taken right after landing on Mars Feb. 18, 2021. The rover is equipped with microphones designed to capture the landing and then the sounds on the ground from Mars.
‘Touchdown confirmed’ NASA rover, helicopter duo land on Mars
NASA’s Perseverance rover and the first-ever Mars helicopter concluded a 300-million-mile journey Thursday after surviving the landing. 3:55 p.m. Touchdown PerseveranceNASA’s Mars rover Perseverance has successfully landed in Jezero Crater on Mars following a 300-million-mile journey. I’m all in.#CountdownToMars pic.twitter.com/Eilc5Zq3ZW — NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) February 18, 20213:48 p.m. #CountdownToMars pic.twitter.com/bMsKw5ZEIQ — NASA (@NASA) February 18, 2021“You all should sleep in Friday because you guys have earned it,” Chen said. The chips were then were attached to an aluminum plate on NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover at Kennedy Space Center before launching in July.
Breaking down the dangers NASA’s rover must survive to land on Mars
[MORE: NASA is about to land the first tiny helicopter on Mars]With so much money flowing into the new Perseverance rover you can’t help but wonder, could the mission fail? The rover’s landing has been dubbed “seven minutes of terror.”“Entry, Descent landing is the most critical and most dangerous part of the mission success is never assured. And that’s especially true when we’re trying to land the biggest heaviest and most complicated rover we’ve ever built,” Mars 2020 entry, descent and landing lead Allen Chen said. During the descent, NASA teams will be in the dark, hence the scariest seven minutes of the mission. “We certainly don’t want to land on that,” Erisa Stilley, Perseverance entry, descent and landing engineer said when referring to the cliff.
Listen for these NASA engineers to call out Mars Perseverance rover landing events
While NASA’s Mars rover is coming in for landing Thursday, there are two engineers’ voices you’ll want to listen out for as the spacecraft carrying the rover completes a series of maneuvers to safely land on the red planet. During NASA’s last rover landing in 2012, livestream listeners would have heard Al Chen, who leads the entry, descent and landing into the Martian atmosphere, making the calls as the spacecraft barreled down through the Martian atmosphere. The GN&C system acts as the “eyes and ears” of the spacecraft, bringing the rover down to the ground, according to NASA. When asked Tuesday during a media briefing ahead of Thursday’s Mars arrival, Perseverance deputy project manager Jennifer Trosper explained Mohan is who everyone will want to listen out for during the seven-minute landing sequence. Ad“Entry, descent and landing is the most critical and most dangerous part of the mission.
European Space Agency seeks diversity in new astronaut drive
The ESA, NASA's European equivalent, is highlighting diversity in the drive: The final frontier for such predominantly white and male agencies. This year the ESA is looking to recruit more women astronauts, as well as people with disabilities who always dreamed of going into space. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, File)PARIS – The European Space Agency is holding its first astronaut recruitment drive in 11 years and says greater diversity is one of the goals. The European equivalent of NASA is seeking to recruit more women astronauts this year, as well as people with disabilities who have always dreamed of going into space. According to ESA, it’s the first time that a space agency anywhere has opened the application process up to people with disabilities.
United Arab Emirates publishes first photo from Mars probe
This Feb. 10, 2021 image taken by the United Arab Emirates' "Amal," or "Hope," probe was released Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, shows Mars . The Hope space probe now circles the red planet. (Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center/UAE Space Agency, via AP)DUBAI – The United Arab Emirates on Sunday published the first image for its Mars probe now circling the red planet. It shows Mars' north pole, as well as Mars' largest volcano, Olympus Mons. The probe swung into orbit around Mars on Tuesday in a triumph for the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission.
UAE successfully puts spacecraft in Mars orbit on first try
Hope is designed to orbit Mars and study the Martian atmosphere using three scientific instruments on board the spacecraft. [RELATED: 3 spacecraft arriving in quick succession to Mars | NASA Mars rover coming in for landing during ‘most dangerous’ part of mission]AdThe UAE Space Agency offered a livestream of the spacecraft’s arrival. ET nearly half of the spacecraft’s fuel was spent to slow it down enough to capture Mars’ orbit. Just before 11 a.m. the UAE Space Agency confirmed the spacecraft had survived and was beginning it’s high orbit of the red planet. The Mars Orbit Insertion is now complete.#ArabsToMars — Hope Mars Mission (@HopeMarsMission) February 9, 2021The UAE hopes to inspire a new generation of scientists and space explorers with the $200 million mission.
Next stop Mars: 3 spacecraft arriving in quick succession
China’s first Mars mission, a joint effort with Russia in 2011, never made it past Earth’s orbit. The U.S. rover Perseverance, by contrast, will dive in straight away for a harrowing sky-crane touchdown similar to the Curiosity rover’s grand Martian entrance in 2012. Smashed Russian and European spacecraft litter the Martian landscape, meanwhile, along with NASA’s failed Mars Polar Lander from 1999. It even kept the European and Russian space agencies' joint Mars mission grounded until the next launch window in 2022. AdPerseverance's deputy project manager Matt Wallace, who’s working his fifth Mars rover mission, said the pandemic won’t dampen the mood come landing day.
What’s for dinner on Mars? NASA needs help creating a Martian menu
The U.S. space agency is looking for ideas to improve food production on the red planet that meet several important requirements. These technologies must require minimal resources and produce minimal waste while also providing astronauts the nutrients they need for long-duration missions. AdTo help find solutions to this problem, NASA launched the Deep Space Food Challenge where the potential winner could earn up to $500,000. Similar to other technologies developed for purposes in space, they often can be used to improve life on Earth, too. The NASA competition is only open to U.S. residents but Canada and other international partners are also looking for ideas.
Startup plans to launch people in giant balloon to edge of space from Kennedy Space Center
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. A new startup plans to use a giant balloon to carry paying customers to the edge of space for a unique view of the Earth and their journey will start from the former space shuttle runway at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Space Perspectives signed a lease with Space Florida, the states spaceport authority, to locate its first operations center for the Neptune capsule at the Launch and Landing Facility, formerly the shuttle landing runway. The private company plans to announced Thursday its intent to fly the first passengers to the edge of space beginning next year. Passengers will ride in a pressurized capsule with large windows in their normal clothes while enjoying amenities including drinks and food or using the time to perform an experiment, according to Space Perspectives website. The company is already taking reservations on its website at thespaceperspective.com.
Richard Bransons Virgin Orbit plans first space launch
LOS ANGELES Richard Bransons Virgin Orbit is targeting the coming weekend for its first attempt to launch a demonstration payload into space aboard a rocket released from beneath the wing of a Boeing 747. Earlier this year, Virgin Orbit conducted a rehearsal flight that simulated release of the rocket. Headquartered in Long Beach, Virgin Orbit is a sister company to Virgin Galactic, which is preparing to carry tourists on suborbital flights high over New Mexico. Virgin Orbits system will be capable of launching small satellites into space from locations around the world. The launch rehearsal comes after years of development and recent extensive modification of operations because of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as putting team members to work on the development of medical ventilators.