Perseverance Mars Rover Landing to Help Scientists Understand Planet’s Structure

Mar, 2021 - By SMI

Perseverance Mars Rover Landing to Help Scientists Understand Planet’s Structure

Seismic waves created by the landing of the Perseverance Mars rover in February can help researchers understand the structure of the Red Planet.

The car sized rover named Perseverance is part of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission. The rover was launched on 30 July 2020 and is scheduled to touch down on the Martian surface on 18th February 2021. The landing site is the Jezero crater which has a diameter of about 49 kilometers and is located in the Syrtis Major quadrangle. According to a new study, the Insight Mars lander will try to detect the seismic signals created by the Perseverance rover from a distance of over 3,200 kilometers. If successful, this will be the only time that a spacecraft has detected a landing on another planet, the InSight team said.

Ever since its landing on the planet in November 2018, the InSight rover has detected several marsquakes with the help of a series of supersensitive seismometers. Using these measurements, the team is carrying out detailed mapping of the planet’s interior. Although, it is tricky to figure out the magnitude of a quake and pinpoint the exact location and time when a seismic wave was created with only one ground station. According to lead author of the study, Ben Fernando, the simplest explanation for this is being in a room without sight and trying to figure out if someone is speaking quietly closer to you or loudly from far away. This is even more complicated if you do not know the shape of the room, Fernando added.

Therefore, the landing of the Perseverance rover poses a valuable opportunity for the InSight team to gather seismic data created during an impact. China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft is also scheduled to land on Mars in 2021, however it would be difficult to hear this landing since the exact details of the mission are unknown, Fernando concluded.

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