HAMPTON, Va – around 1555pm Thursday, David Way and his team will be in a control room at the Langley Research Center, eagerly awaiting the return of data from more than 100 million miles away

This is the big moment for Way, the head of flight mechanics and simulation for Mars 2020

“This very complex machine that we designed has to work just right and completely autonomous on the first try, as there is no overlap in entry, descent and landing work,” said Way during a virtual round table with NASA Langley Research Center on Wednesday

Much of Langley’s role in the Perseverance Rover’s mission to the Red Planet revolved around the vehicle’s entry into the Martian atmosphere and its descent to the surface

Only when the rover has landed safely can it begin its historic mission of collecting soil samples that will eventually be returned to Earth and examined for evidence of past microbial life

According to Langley engineers, the “seven minutes of terror” that lead to the landing are crucial: After hitting the Martian atmosphere at 12000 miles per hour, persistence needs to hit the brakes Sensors developed by Langley as part of the Mars Entry, Descent and Landing Instrumentation 2 (MEDLI2) project, monitor heat and other conditions during entry

“We are receiving data and the Langley and Ames (Research Center) team will work on any reconstruction effort to find out how Endurance actually flown, what it really went through and how we can use that knowledge and apply to future missions,” said Henry Wright, MEDLI2 Project Manager “Almost every minute or so, we get an amount of data that shows us how the temperature profile is changing over time”

“It’s deployed incredibly quickly,” said Juan Cruz, a Langley aerospace engineer and parachute expert who made his sixth landing on Mars. “We’re talking a second and a half, so this is a very violent event that is very carefully modeled must be “

Langley scientists created a simulation to prepare for this part of the mission, Cruz says it has been run over 10 million times, but seriously, there’s only one chance to get it right

While some data is coming in as you type, NASA won’t know if Perseverance landed safely until over 11 minutes after the event

From here, the data obtained can be used to prepare for future missions to Mars, including the manned

“The entry, descent, and landing technologies we are using for Mars 2020 are totally scalable for future missions,” said Michelle Munk, director of NASA EDL Capability

Where and when this will happen remains to be seen, although efforts are currently being made to get humans to Mars sometime in the 2030s

Mars 2020 is slated to land in Jezero crater, where researchers believe water once flowed, making it the best place to possibly locate signs of life

NASA’s coverage of the 2020 Mars landing begins at Jan.3pm on Thursday Click HERE to participate

Mars landing

World News – USA – Concerned NASA Langley scientists and engineers wait for the Perseverance rover to land on Mars

Source: https://www.wtkr.com/news/anxious-nasa-langley-scientists-engineers-await-perseverance-rovers-mars-landing