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  • Writer's pictureZACH SELLINGER

It's a Close Race, But Perseverance Will Persevere!

Our neig

hboring red planet Mars, which scientists say potential life could be situated within, awaits three international probes to continue that study. The United Arab Emirates’ Hope orbiter, China’s Tianwen 1 orbiter/lander/rover, and America’s Perseverance rover have all launched last July and should park at their final destination next February.

To me, the UAE named their probe Hope for a good reason. Not just because they hope for useful data, but also because they hope their mission succeeds all the way. Think about it: it’s their very first Mars mission! The UAE has built Hope from the ground up and have the responsibility of helping it go into orbit around Mars. I think there’s a 50:50 chance of Hope making it because you never know what could go wrong.

As for China, for them to combine an orbiter, a lander, and a rover all into one spacecraft sounds wild. I thought it would be a two-mission or three-mission program doing one step at a time. I guess China wanted to take the biggest risk of all and have Tianwen 1 do everything in one go. Maybe I’m exaggerating because Tianwen 1 really isn’t designed to insert itself into Martian orbit and immediately release the lander and rover upon reaching a stable orbit. I know there’ll be a few weeks’ period or at least a month between orbit insertion and the lander/rover landing. I’m confident that China will nail all their goals, but it’s not 100% because I can’t be perfect in regards to predicting mission success.

The mission that strikes me the most is NASA’s Perseverance rover, which was the last to launch in late July. Looking at Perseverance’s appearance, it mostly resembles another rover called Curiosity, but it’s a bit larger in size. And given Curiosity launched eight years ago, I would nickname Perseverance the “little big brother” of Curiosity. It seems so fitting to me. Remember the “seven minutes of terror” period during the Curiosity landing? You know, the one where they used the “sky crane” machine to lower the rover to a soft landing? NASA’s doing the same landing profile with Perseverance! But it’s not gonna be terrifying for me because I’m 100% certain the rover will stick the landing with no issues whatsoever. After all, NASA already has experience with the “sky crane” machine.

To sum it all up, we have three different nations racing to the finish line: a planet where it is there that intelligent life MIGHT be visible whether the theories are true or false. Who will persevere? Perseverance, for sure!

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