The NASA Perseverance’s SuperCam delivered audio of Martian rocks being zapped by lazers. It is one of the many highlights of its mission so far.

mars perseverance rover nasa jetpack entry descent landing arrival
A jetpack, with the Perseverance rover secured to its underbelly, flies to a safe landing spot in Jezero Crater.

  • The NASA Perseverance rover’s SuperCam instrument delivered its first results earlier this week.
  • Lazer shootings determined the nature of the rock targets being examined.
  • Insider takes a look at the six-wheeled robot’s latest developments.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

NASA’s Perseverance rover’s SuperCam science instrument delivered its first-results earlier this week, after lazer-shooting a target rock.

The SuperCam is a device that studies rocks and soil with a camera, lazer, and spectrometers to identify organic compounds that could be related to past life on Mars. It can identify the atomic and molecular makeup of targets as far as 20 feet away, NASA reported.

The high-intensity lazer is a technique that has also been deployed by NASA’s previous rover, Curiosity.

On Thursday, NASA released an audiotape of its rover zapping a target rock named “Máaz.” The recording of the lazer strikes has allowed scientists to uncover more useful information, including the hardness of the subjects being examined. “If we tap on a surface that is hard, we will not hear the same sound as when we fire on a surface that is soft,” said Naomi Murdoch, from the National Higher French Institute of Aeronautics and Space, in Toulouse, per BBC News.

Scientists were able to reveal that Máaz was basaltic, meaning it contained a substantial amount of magnesium and iron, BBC News reported.

They are yet to discover whether the “rock itself is igneous, ie volcanic, or perhaps if it is a sedimentary rock made up of igneous grains that were washed downriver into Jezero lake and cemented together,” said SuperCam chief investigator, Roger Wiens, in a BBC News report.

Perseverance’s key developments so far

Since its historical landing last month, the Perseverance rover has delivered a range of high-resolution images and audio recordings from the Martian terrain to Earth.

One of the rover’s first developments was its camera providing front and rear images of Perseverance’s successful landing on Mars. This was followed by audio recordings from microphones that were attached to the rover. They revealed the sounds of a Martian breeze – the first sounds in history to be recorded on the planet.

The wind was gusting at 5 meters per second (11 mph), according to Dave Gruel, NASA’s lead engineer for Perseverance’s camera and microphone systems.

A 360-degree panorama taken by the rover’s Mastcam-Z tool was another key establishment, as it allowed people to take a full look around the robot’s home in Jezero Crater.

Earlier this month, the six-wheeled robot went for its first drive on Mars. As it drove, the rover snapped shots of its wheel tracks in the dirt behind it. NASA’s Perseverance engineers and scientists are already planning routes for the rover to travel in order to reach the river delta that once fed Lake Jezero, as Insider previously reported.

“Our first drive went incredibly well,” said Anais Zarifian, who works on the rover’s mobility team, in a press briefing. “I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to see wheel tracks, and I’ve seen a lot of them.”

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Mars Rover, SpaceX launches, and the Hope Probe – these are some of 2021’s biggest space stories so far

perseverance rover mars navcam screengrab
A screengrab from a NASA press conference of the Perseverance rover.

  • NASA’s Mars Rover’s daring landing on Mars is among the key space stories of 2021.
  • The red planet is also an important destination for Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the UAE, and China.
  • Blue Origin and Zero 2 Infinity are among other space companies commanding attention. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The year has already got off to a winning start, with many key developments in the new space race.

The most notable is the impressive – and terrifying – landing of NASA’s Perseverance Rover on Mars. It successfully touched down on the red planet on February 18 and landed in a deep crater called Jezero. 

The result was deeply satisfying for those who have been tracking the progress of the rover, which had been travelling to its destination for nearly seven months. The rover has been continuing to beam back photos of its descent to Mars. 

Elsewhere, the UAE space agency released the first photo of Mars taken by its Hope Probe, while China’s Tianwen-1 mission successfully maneuvered into orbit around Mars earlier this month. 

Meanwhile, Spanish startup Zero 2 Infinity has big plans to send humans into space in giant helium balloons for a cost of $132,000.

The comparatively cheaper price may lure some prospective travellers away from SpaceX’s Mars mission, which aims to send humans to the planet by 2026. Some experts have called into question whether this will really happen, however. 

SpaceX has also been busy launching many more satellites. It recently sent 60 into orbit but the Falcon 9 rocket’s booster did not successfully complete its landing on February 16. 

The S.S. Katherine Johnson, a space supply ship carrying cargo to the International Space Station, blasted off from Virginia on February 20. The ship is named after the brilliant mathematician whose story was depicted in the 2016 film ‘Hidden Figures.’ It arrived at its destination on February 22. 

Finally, space fans can expect Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin to start commanding more attention. When the Amazon CEO announced he was stepping down from the role later this year, he said he planned to dedicate more time to the company.

Blue Origin’s website states: “We’re committed to building a road to space so our children can build the future.” 

 

Perseverance landed on Mars in dramatic style

perseverance mars rover landing photo
A photo of NASA’s Perseverance rover just feet above the Martian surface – part of a video several cameras recorded of the landing on February 18, 2021.

Perseverance’s first color photo

perseverance mars rover color image
The rover has been capturing stunning images like this since it touched down on Mars

The UAE Space Agency is also making Mars a priority

Mars from UAE Hope Probe.JPG
The UAE’s first photo of Mars taken by its Hope Probe.

Zero 2 Infinity …and beyond

Zero 2 Infinity
The company wants to eventually offer hours of flight time for space tourists who travel in the giant helium balloons

SpaceX’s Starlink launches

elon musk spacex starship sn8 serial number 8 steel rocket ship prototype boca chica south texas sunset sunrise getty 4x3
Elon Musk’s company successfully launched 60 satellites just before 11pm (EST) on Monday, February 16. A rocket booster was lost in the process, however.

Blue Origin’s bold vision

Jeff Bezos Blue Origin
Jeff Bezos announced plans to devote more time to his Blue Origin rocket company after he steps down as Amazon CEO.

China’s Tianwen-1 mission

china mars global remote sensing and small rover tianwen hx 1 martian mission spacecraft illustration rendering cas xinhua
China’s Tianwen-1 mission maneuvered into orbit around Mars earlier this month. This illustration shows it departing Earth. It’s the first mission that has ever tried to deliver an orbiter, lander, and rover all at the same time.

Read the original article on Business Insider

From the Mars Rover landing to SpaceX satellite launches, these are some of 2021’s biggest space stories so far

perseverance rover mars landing first images nasa
The first (left) and second (right) images that the Perseverance rover took seconds after landing on Mars, February 18, 2021.

  • Nasa’s Mars Rover’s daring landing on Mars is among the key space stories of 2021.
  • The red planet is also an important destination for Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the UAE, and China.
  • Blue Origin and Zero 2 Infinity are among other space companies commanding attention. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The year has already got off to a winning start, with many key developments in the new space race.

The most notable is the impressive – and terrifying – landing of NASA’s Perseverance Rover on Mars. It successfully touched down on the red planet on Thursday afternoon (EST) in a deep crater called Jezero.

The result was deeply satisfying for those who have been tracking the progress of the rover, which had been travelling to its destination for nearly seven months.

In other recent developments, the UAE space agency released the first photo of Mars taken by its Hope Probe, while China’s Tianwen-1 mission successfully manoeuvred into orbit around Mars earlier this month. 

Meanwhile, Spanish startup Zero 2 Infinity has big plans to send humans into space in giant helium balloons for a cost of $132,000.

The comparatively cheaper price may lure some prospective travellers away from SpaceX’s Mars mission, which aims to send humans to the planet by 2026. Some experts have called into question whether this will really happen, however. 

SpaceX has also been busy launching many more satellites. It recently sent 60 into orbit but the Falcon 9 rocket’s booster did not successfully complete its landing on February 16. 

Finally, space fans can expect Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin to start commanding more attention. When the Amazon CEO announced he was stepping down from the role later this year, he said he planned to dedicate more time to the company.

Blue Origin’s website states: “We’re committed to building a road to space so our children can build the future.” 

 

The Mars Rover’s first color photo

perseverance mars rover color image
Perseverance has been capturing stunning images like this since it touched down on Mars

The UAE Space Agency is also making Mars a priority

Mars from UAE Hope Probe.JPG
The UAE’s first photo of Mars taken by its Hope Probe.

Zero 2 Infinity …and beyond

Zero 2 Infinity
The company wants to eventually offer hours of flight time for space tourists who travel in the giant helium balloons

SpaceX’s Starlink launches

elon musk spacex starship sn8 serial number 8 steel rocket ship prototype boca chica south texas sunset sunrise getty 4x3
Elon Musk’s company successfully launched 60 satellites just before 11pm (EST) on Monday, February 16. A rocket booster was lost in the process, however.

Blue Origin’s bold vision

Jeff Bezos Blue Origin
Jeff Bezos announced plans to devote more time to his Blue Origin rocket company after he steps down as Amazon CEO.

China’s Tianwen-1 mission

china mars global remote sensing and small rover tianwen hx 1 martian mission spacecraft illustration rendering cas xinhua
China’s Tianwen-1 mission maneuvered into orbit around Mars earlier this month. This illustration shows it departing Earth. It’s the first mission that has ever tried to deliver an orbiter, lander, and rover all at the same time.

Read the original article on Business Insider