(In the video: China launches first unmanned spacecraft to Mars)
The US space agency NASA today (Thursday) launched the Preservation spacecraft, which is supposed to help locate signs of life on Mars. The launch was made from the Cape Canaveral site in Florida, aboard the Atlas 5 rocket. The mission cost about $ 2.4 billion.
Preservation was launched towards the clear, sunny sky, in warm weather, aboard the rocket which is a joint venture of the Boeing and Lockheed Martin companies. The launch occurred after the California lab, where the mission engineers are located, was shaken by an earthquake.
This is NASA’s ninth mission to the surface of Mars.
The new-generation spacecraft, which has a 1.8-kilogram autonomous helicopter on board, is set to land in a 250-foot-deep letter known as the Gizro, which was a lake three and a half billion years ago.
For many years scientists have been wondering whether on Mars, which in the past had much more favorable conditions than today, there was indeed some life. Water is considered an essential ingredient for the existence of life, and on the planet billions of years ago there was an abundance of water, before it became arid and hard.
One of the most complicated maneuvers will be the “Seven Minutes of Terror”, with the robot having to go through extreme heat and speed as it lands through the atmosphere of Mars. During landing, it will operate supersonic parachutes before igniting mini-rocket engines that will allow it a soft landing.
This is the third mission launched this month from Earth to Mars, after China and the United Arab Emirates.