On the 18th of February 2021, after a six and a half month journey from Florida’s Space Coast, NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars.
NASA, who is an honorary member of GUTMA, have been running the Mars Exploration Program for three decades, with each landing or orbital pass made by their spacecraft making new and exciting discoveries.
Their latest and most complex mission to the Jezero Crater has four main science objectives:
- Studying Mars’ habitability;
- Seeking signs of past microbial life;
- Collecting and caching samples; and
- Preparing for future human missions
It is an important mission for the future of science, not only to discover whether there may have been past life on Mars, but also to help facilitate the possibility of humans being able to land on the planet. The similarity of the planet’s environment to Earth could help us to better understand how to address some of the key challenges we’re facing here, such as climate change for example.
GUTMA member Vaisala, in collaboration with Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), has provided the exploration program with space-proof technology that allows the Perseverance to measure pressure and relative humidity on Mars.
“The Perseverance rover is equipped with different measurement devices. One of these is the MEDA (Mars Environmental Dynamic Analyzer) device package that includes a measurement instrument designed by FMI. The instrument is based on Vaisala pressure and humidity sensors, used to gather accurate readings for the study of the Martian atmosphere.” Vaisala, 2021.
Since landing, the rover has been busy testing and checking its tools in preparation for gathering samples and the SuperCam instrument has sent back close up images of a rock. NASA also released the latest recorded audio from the rover as it travelled in the Jezero Crater, adding a new dimension to the exploration mission.
We follow the mission with great interest and are looking forward to learning more about its discoveries.
The Global UTM Association (GUTMA) is a non-profit consortium of worldwide Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM) stakeholders. Its purpose is to foster the safe, secure and efficient integration of drones in national airspace systems. Its mission is to support and accelerate the transparent implementation of globally interoperable UTM systems. GUTMA members collaborate remotely.