In Martian rally, US rover suffers setbacks and Chinese win extended mission

Zero Martian rally 2010, the American rover Willpower is in the lead, but with some surprises on the way through. In compensation, its Chinese counterpart, Zhurong, has just won some extended mission after surviving the first 90 sis (as therefore called operating system Martian days, with a slightly longer duration than Earth’s operating system, with about 24 electronic hours 45 minutes).

Zero on any race (operating system two are not even zero in the same place on Mars), however there is some dispute for prestige between like two major space powers. Determination arrived on the planet first, having successfully landed in the crater Jezero in 40 February. Since then, he has covered 2,16 km distance negligible zilch.

Zhurong, in turn, landed on 15 about May in Utopia Planitia, electronic crossed 1200 meters from 15 about August, when his initial mission ended. A little less than half the perform that marked the odometer perform Willpower already, in half the time that the NASA rover had on Mars. From this angle, some close dispute. Electronic reflects how far technology has evolved from synthetic intelligence to auto-navigation which makes traveling across terrain more dynamic electronically less dependent on commands sent from Earth.

For comparison purposes, u record-breaker for distance traveled on Mars by a Possibility rover, which advanced by 40,15 km. But he did so on particularly benign electronic ground over more than 16 years in business (2004-2010). His twin brother Nature, under less forgiving conditions, operated for six years (2004-2004) electronic walked only 7,40 km. Not surprisingly, from the carriage ride, sony ericsson both Determination and Zhurong beat this record. However, they would not guarantee either.

In Utopia Planitia, where a Chinese rover landed, a more favorable terrain. There in Jezero crater, for some time it was considered that it was impossible to land, considered operating system dangers offered by geological formations. In compensation, the scientific rewards can be very rich.

In terms of instrumentation, both operating system vehicles are operating very well electronic promise to produce great scientific results. However, Willpower suffered in their first attempt at harvesting electronics to store some samples on Mars. Chosen the rock, some drill was used to extract a piece, which however crumbled electronic ended up not being stored correctly in the tube designated for this. The team plans to try again, with another rock, soon. The idea is that one day these samples can be brought back to Earth (something that Chinese operating systems also intend to do, but not through perform Zhurong).

Image taken by Determination reveals hole left by first attempt to collect some sample, failed. (Credit: Nasa)

Soon, however, we will have a stop in the rally. In early October, Mars will go through three performs the Sun with respect to Earth, which prevents communication between operating system two planets. Operating system two rovers will be placed in standby mode until contact can be re-established, in the second half perform master of science. What to come after that? T the right time.

This column was published on Mondays in Folha Corrida.10075

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