Perseverance Will Make Sure it has a Safe Landing

Mars 2020’s Perseverance rover is equipped with a lander vision system based on terrain-relative navigation, an advanced method of autonomously comparing real-time images to preloaded maps that determine the rover’s position relative to hazards in the landing area. Divert guidance algorithms and software can then direct the rover around those obstacles if needed. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

To casual observers, landing a rover on Mars can seem kind of like old news, believe it or not. Especially after all of NASA’s successes. But many are likely not aware of the so-called ‘Mars Curse.‘ The fact is, many of the spacecraft that attempt to land there fail and crash.

Next to run the gauntlet of the Mars Curse is NASA’s Perseverance rover. It’ll attempt its long-awaited landing at Jezero Crater on February 18th. The people at NASA have given the Perseverance rover some finely-tuned tools to get it to the Martian surface safely and to beat the Mars curse.

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Snowy Soyuz Touchdown!

Soyuz reentry captured by Soichi Noguchi on the ISS. "Looooong trail of Soyuz re-entry. See the shadow over "lower" cloud layer? Left side is Caspian Sea. Welcome home, Jeff and Max!" Noguchi wrote.


In what was likely a softer –albeit colder — Soyuz landing than usual, ISS Expedition 22 astronaut Jeff Williams and cosmonaut Max Suraev landed their Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft on the snowy steppes of Kazakhstan Thursday, wrapping up a five-and-a-half-month stay aboard the International Space Station. The entire process of undocking and re-entry of the Soyuz was captured by the newest and hottest space photographer, Soichi Noguchi, (@Astro_Soichi) who has been sending down amazing Twitpics from space. See his very unique images below.

Suraev was at the controls of the spacecraft as it undocked at 8:03 GMT (4:03 a.m. EDT) from the station’s Poisk module. The duo landed at 11:24 GMT (7:24 a.m. EDT) at a site northeast of the Kazakh town of Arkalyk. The recovery teams had to work in frigid temperatures to help the crew exit the Soyuz and readjust to gravity, and then transport them to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, outside of Moscow.

Soyuz departing from the ISS. Credit: NASA/JAXA/Soichi Noguchi

“Fly safe my friends!” wrote @Astro_Soichi.

See all of Noguchi’s photos at his Twitpic page.