ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom

On Thursday 30 July, NASA’s latest mission to Mars successfully launched, propelling its Perseverance rover to continue the exploration of the Red Planet that has fascinated astronomers, and science fiction writers who wondered if there was life on Mars since Galileo first observed it in 1610.

Following in the tyre tracks of its predecessors, Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity, and Curiosity rovers, Perseverance, a one-tonne, six-wheeled robot, is equipped with the very latest technology to complete its mission - to discover if life ever existed on Mars, reports the BBC.

Soon after the spacecraft separated from the Atlas rocket booster that took it into orbit, it began its cruise phase on its 300 million miles, seven-month journey, travelling at a speed of around 24,600 mph. NASA engineers will be keeping an eye on its journey, making adjustments to its flight path along the way, to reach its destination of the Jezero Crater on the Red Planet.

NASA’s team, based at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, have confirmed that the spacecraft is healthy, and on its way to Mars.

Perseverance is set to land in a river delta within Jezero Crater, looking to repeat the same exciting entry, descent and landing that NASA’s Curiosity rover had in 2012, which still continues to roam the Martian surface today, sending back incredible photos and data.

Perseverance will use seven scientific instruments to explore the geology and climate of Mars and also look for signs of ancient microbial life.

It will also be tasing the atmosphere of Mars to see if the planet’s carbon dioxide atmosphere can be converted into oxygen, which would be essential for future manned missions.

The rover will also collect rock samples with a drilling arm, keeping them safe so that the samples can be one day returned to Earth for much more in-depth testing and investigation.

As for the moment, Mars is still the only known planet to be entirely populated by robots, and we all look forward to seeing Perseverance join its brothers and sisters.

Electron beam welding is an essential part of manufacturing in space exploration, so get in touch if you want to know more.