In the middle of last week, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA, for its acronym in English) was able to land the fifth exploration vehicle in its history on Mars.
One of the successes was created by many people, one of whom was of Dominican descent. It was Dr. Carlos Montalvo, an associate professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Southern Alabama, who saw his family descend diligently.
“I could feel the suspense as I watched the telemetry broadcast a meter away from my television,” he told Fox Channel 10 for the Montalvo Regional Television Network.
As for the results he wants to get from this project, he confirmed that at this time it is under study, but nonetheless, he pointed out that it would mark another step for man to land on Mars.
“It’s just getting more data and protocol at this point. But it’s still coming, more launches, more satellites, more exploration and it’s drawing a picture that is so exciting to see first hand,” the professor stressed during his interview.
The first signal to land was received at the Robleto de Chavela station near Madrid, which is part of NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN).
Perseverance was launched on July 30 with the main purpose of finding traces of past life that were able to thrive in the humid environment recorded by the planet billions of years ago.
Seventeen minutes before landing, part of the diligently flown spacecraft from Earth separated from the entry capsule.
The ‘seven-minute terror’ began when the spacecraft entered Mars’ atmosphere at 19,500 kilometers per hour. A minute later, the friction from the atmosphere heated the base of the spacecraft to 1,300 degrees Celsius.
Three minutes before landing, the spacecraft landed its parachute at supersonic speed, and 20 seconds later the entry capsule detached from the thermal shield.
This allowed the rover to use the rotor to determine ground clearance and to use its terrain-related navigation technology to locate a safe landing site.
One minute before touching the surface, the back of the capsule attached to the parachute was disassembled.
At that point, the system around the rover was activating its retrocket, and in the last few meters it dropped the rover with the nylon straps attached to a crane. In this way, the vehicle traveled to Mars at a speed of 2.7 kilometers per hour at 20.55 UTC.