It only took hours before Farah Ali Bey frenetic sat in Quebec and her team drove a persistence robot on Mars after a nearly seven-month journey in space.
Also read: NASA mission: Kobeiker frenzied with the idea of Mars exploration, the persevering robot leaves Earth
The flight engineer admits that she cannot continue.
“We’re nervous, anxious, excited. It’s a bit like the day before the contest: You know you’re ready, but the big show is going to be the next day. We want everything to be fine. She arrived in California less than 48 hours before the long landing.” Waiting for him.
Starting tomorrow, the 33-year-old Montreller will adapt her schedule to that of the Red Planet, with days being 40 minutes longer than here, with her shifts changing daily. At this rate, after 37 days, you will “lose” a day of life on Earth. A cell phone app will help him keep the count.
“We will live on the rhythm of Mars!” She laughs.
Because, after an hour or two of landing, his team would be ready to play.
“In the first 20 days, we examine all the tools to make sure that the robot is healthy, before we start studying science,” she says.
During Mars Night, she and her team will program the rover to the nearest second so that the robot can complete its mission in daylight. In particular, he will have to take pictures and orient himself in space.
“At night, we plunge it into a state of low activity as we use energy to heat it up and survive a Martian night,” says the engineer.
Requests have to be planned, because it takes between 20 and 30 minutes for communication to make the round trip between Earth and Mars. Every day, more than fifty scientists will be working on her program for the day.
In total, the expedition vehicle is expected to recover about twenty samples from different environments.
“What we want to do is travel record distances every day, to get various samples,” she said.
For her part, the engineer who has worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) since 2014 will also coordinate the operations of the Ingenuity helicopter, which will accompany the rover on her mission.
“This will be the first time that we have traveled to another planet,” Ms. Ali Bey says, visibly excited.
While the journey of perseverance has been “moderately quiet” so far, the past seven months have not been easy for its “optimistic” streak, who has worked tirelessly with the test team to prepare the exercises.
They tested her capabilities in a “Martian Field” that mimics the planet’s surface, and she adds, a smile at her voice. “With the mission, we might be able to determine that yes, there has actually been life on Mars. It is a huge honor to be part of this team. We are writing history,” she concludes with pride.
► The landing will be directly visible on the NASA website tomorrow at around 3:30 pm.
The task is in brief
- The Perseverance Chariot left Earth on July 30, aboard an Atlas 5 rocket, on its nearly seven-month journey to Mars.
- Accompanied by a small helicopter called Ingenuity, the six-wheel rover will have to analyze and collect rock samples, which will be left in sealed tubes on the surface of the Red Planet.
- Samples will be collected during an upcoming mission and returned to Earth in 2031.
- The perseverance mission will last for a year on Mars – nearly two years on Earth – as the exploration probe will try to find traces of ancient microbial life.
- Perseverance is scheduled to land on February 18 at around 3:30 pm, in Jizero Crater, where a former Mars delta that may have housed life in the past appears.