National Aeronautics and Space Administration which we all call NASA is currently doing one of the greatest missions in history. That is the Perseverance rover mission at Mars. This fully automated rower is set to land and touch Mars passing a terrifying seven minutes which the scientific community referring as “Seven Minutes of Terror”. Lets’ find more details about it.
After almost seven months, NASA’s perseverance Mars rover reached its destination. This mission was designed and planned to find evidence of microbial life. Especially ancient microbial life and how the planet was in the past. Whether it was habitable or not.
All of this only be possible if they successfully pass the seven minutes of terror. What actually is this? Mars is 296.62 million km away from Earth. Therefore, there is a big-time gap between the communications done within the Earth and Mars. This time gap can be between 3 – 22 minutes. In this perseverance mission, the time gap is calculated as 13 minutes and 48 seconds. The real problem rises here.
The EDL phase of the perseverance rover is only 7 minutes. What is EDL? Let me explain,
EDL means Entry, Descent and Landing. This is the fully automated landing and touchdown phase of the rover to Mars. As mentioned earlier, one signal needs 13 minutes and 48 seconds to reach Mars from Earth. Which makes the EDL cannot be done manually. Therefore, the rover was designed to take care of itself.
Why is this called as “Terror”?
Since the EDL phase is only seven minutes, when the scientists at NASA receive the signal which says that the EDL starts, it is almost nearly 6 minutes past the completion of EDL. This can be terrifying because scientists know when they receive the signal that the EDL starts, it is almost over, but whether it is successful or their years of hard work just got crashed on the MARS. They needed to wait another 7 minutes to get the Signal that contains the message “Landing was Successful”. These seven minutes may be the hardest seven minutes of their life of the crew of the perseverance mission.
So that’s why it is called seven minutes of terror. This perseverance mission is very important because this time it carried a drone called ‘Ingenuity’. That is designed to fly over Mars which will be done for the first time in human history.
We are happy to say that, both the EDL and the flight were successful. You can watch live footage recorded when the EDL happening below. There were cameras fixed on the rover to record its movements.
Featured photo by NASA