NASA sent to explore Mars, started experiencing technical problems and keeps only essential systems operational a few hours after takeoff, reported today the space agency U.S hours after takeoff. “data-reactid =” 19 “> CAPE CANAVERAL, United States.- The Mars 2020 spacecraft, carrying a new NASA vehicle sent to explore Mars, began experiencing technical problems and is only operating its systems essential within hours of liftoff, the US space agency reported hours after liftoff today.

“The data indicates that the spacecraft entered a state known as safe mode, probably because part of the spacecraft was slightly cooler than expected while … it was in Earth’s shadow,” he said. NASA added that the mission was fully evaluating the state of the artifact.

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NASA’s Perseverance robot left for Mars today to search for traces of ancient life and explore the red planet with the small helicopter on board.

An Atlas V rocket from the United Launch Alliance took off as scheduled at 8:50 (Argentine time) from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in a clear sky, to undertake a journey of almost seven months and about 480 million kilometers.

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The first stage of the rocket dislodged a few minutes later, before a second separation from Earth’s orbit that gave Perserverance another push on its way to Mars.

“It’s really great to see him go after all the hard work of the team,” said NASA manager Bobby Braun shortly after the launch.

If all goes well, on February 18, 2021 Perseverance will be the fifth rover to make this journey since 1997.

China launched its first rover to the red planet last week and is expected to arrive in May 2021. “data-reactid =” 28 “> All rover vehicles that have landed on Mars so far are North American, but China launched its first rover to the planet red last week and expected to arrive in May 2021.

Therefore, Mars may simultaneously host three active rovers next year, along with the American Curiosity, which has traveled 23 km of the planet’s surface since 2012.

The main mission of the NASA robot will be to look for traces of past life.

Scientists believe they have proof that more than 3 billion years ago, Mars was warmer and covered with rivers and lakes, ingredients that gave birth to microbes on Earth. Later, the red planet became cold and dry, for reasons that astronomers still do not know.

The new rover, built at NASA’s legendary Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the California city of Pasadena, is an improved version of Curiosity: its six wheels are stronger, faster, smarter, and can self-pilot 200 meters every day.

The vehicle is three meters long, weighs a ton, has 19 cameras, two microphones – a novelty – and a two-meter robotic arm. A plutonium generator will charge your batteries.

Once on Mars, NASA will attempt to launch the 1.8-kilo Ingenuity helicopter into the Martian air, which is only 1% of the density of Earth’s atmosphere. The objective is to demonstrate that it is possible.

NASA is very interested in planetary aerial exploration, as rovers can only travel a few tens of kilometers in their entire lifespan and are vulnerable to dunes and other reliefs, although Perseverance will be able to climb obstacles 40 cm high. A first drone (Dragonfly) will be sent in 2026 to Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.

It will also collect about thirty tube rock samples, which a future joint mission by the United States and Europe will retrieve and bring to Earth no earlier than 2031.

The indisputable proof of a past life on Mars, if there really was one, will likely not be confirmed before analysis of those samples in the next decade, Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s chief science officer, said Tuesday.

“We are surely looking for a very primitive life form, not advanced forms like skeletons or fern fossils,” said Ken Farley, a project scientist at Caltech University.

NASA plans to land Perseverance in the Jezero crater, formed some 3.8 billion years ago, and more precisely in a delta-like location.

Those geographical features are formed when rivers deposit sediments at their mouth. “Deltas are great places to preserve organic matter and other types of biosignatures,” said Tanja Bosak, a member of the mission’s scientific team and a member of MIT.

The advantage of Mars, unlike Earth, is that the crust is not constantly renewed by the movement of tectonic plates. On Earth it is very difficult to find intact land for 3000 million years.

“Mars preserves an incredibly complex and diversified geology on its surface,” said Lori Glaze, head of NASA’s planetary exploration programs. The entire history of the planet was engraved on its surface.

More than 350 geologists, geochemists, astrobiologists, atmospheric experts and other scientists from around the world are participating in the mission, which will last for at least two years, and surely much longer, given the great resistance of previous rovers.

Agencia AFP