NASA’s Conservatory has finally made it to Mars due to scientists’ efforts to gently land the robot in a giant crater. The event is considered one of the biggest achievements of the decade as the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been preparing this project for many years, says the Associated Press.
The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory celebrated with many rounds of applause and cheers the landing of the high-tech interplanetary rover known as Conservatory. The little robot managed to steer through the thin atmosphere of Mars and safely land in a giant crater on Sunday night. Thanks to it, scientists at NASA will have the opportunity to discover important aspects of the red planet’s past.
Emotions grew incredibly stronger as people at the NASA laboratory were waiting for the rover to announce its landing. A signal was eventually transmitted through the voice of engineer Allen Chen who confirmed the touchdown. He reassured everyone that Conservatory was now “safe on Mars”.
The landing signal reached Earth at 10:32 p.m. and it was followed by the first photo made by Conservatory. The black-and-white image displayed the position of the rover, namely, in a crater. In addition, the shadow of the robot and of the wheel could be spotted on the red soil due to the light of the sun.
Engineer Adam Steltzner, who is in charge of the interplanetary rover, told NASA that they managed to land on a “nice flat spot”. He was very proud of his team’s achievement, especially since countries have been struggling for years to land an interplanetary rover on the red planet. This is the seventh landing that NASA makes on Mars hoping that they could discover useful facts about Earth’s neighbor.
Scientists never thought Conservatory could make it to Mars. Their skepticism was fueled by “seven minutes of terror” during which the rover sliced the Martian atmosphere at 13,000 mph. Despite this plummet, the rover was delicately lowered on the ground at 2 mph and Conservatory is now getting ready to explore Mars’ equator region in search of the basic ingredients of life: carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, sulfur and oxygen.