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Groninger involved in Mars landing: ‘Then you are quiet for a moment’

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The cart landed safely on the red planet on Thursday evening and then sent its first photos to Earth. Article link

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The unmanned explorer Perseverance should help clarify whether life was ever possible on Mars.

‘Touchdown confirmed’

“It went very well,” says Kruizinga about the mission. ‘We were right on track. We were about 100 meters off, with our calculations of the precise landing spot. ‘

‘He started to fly through the atmosphere’, says the Groninger about the moment the robot approached Mars. ‘When it started spinning like an airplane, I thought,’ This is going well! ‘. Then the parachute went out and you don’t hear much later ‘touchdown confirmed’. Then you are quiet for a moment. ‘

Watch the conversation with Kruizinga, who engaged from America here:

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Other room

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The images that are now well-known show how a room full of NASA employees jump for joy if the landing turns out to be a success. Kruizinga was ‘unfortunately’ not in that room, ‘because of the corona measures’.

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The signal between Mars and Earth is delayed by eleven minutes, causing the colleagues involved even more nerves. ‘There is nothing you can do in those last minutes. Everything is fully automatic. Article link

The device transforms from space vehicle to crane, with all kinds of steps in between. That’s why everyone looks so tense. So much must go well. ‘

Research on water

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The workplace of the Perseverance is the crater Jezero. Billions of years ago, when water is said to have flowed on Mars, a river may have flowed into a lake there.

This crater was actually too dangerous to land

Gerhard Kruizinga – NASA employee

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The space car must investigate stones and soil, among other things. Article link

The scout has more than twenty cameras and a drill for this. Article link

The device must collect dozens of soil samples in tubes. They are left on the surface.

‘This crater was actually too dangerous to land,’ says Kruizinga. ‘But the Perseverance chose a safe place itself, where it was flat and quiet. Those places are very rare in that area. ‘

Still going on for years

In 2028, a European scout must arrive on Mars to collect the tubes from the Perseverance. That collector must then take off and enter orbit around Mars.

For the Groninger, his task is over for a while. ‘And now on to the next mission,’ he concludes.

Also read:
Astronomer looks forward to landing NASA rover on Mars
– Groningen is planning the flight of the Perseverance to Mars

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