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Mars: A framework that wants to answer the biggest question

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Title of the mediaSensitive operation: ALD is lowered to the rover body

Is it possible? Is there life on Mars?

Since the Mariner 4 probe first visited Red Planet for the first time in July 1965, we have sent a series of missions that gave us all kinds of fascinating information about our neighbor – but not the answer to the only question that is really important.

So, look at the technology that can ultimately change the game.

This is an analytical laboratory tray or ALD – sophisticated box with three instruments to examine rock samples for chemical biology prints.

It was gently lifted on Thursday with a crane and landed in the ExoMars "Rosalind Franklin" rover, a six-wheeled wheel that will pass over Oxia Mars 2021.

A 300-kg robot, jointly developed by the European and Russian space agencies, will have a drill that can dig up to 2m below the dust surface of the planet.

The decommissioning of this tool will be handed over through the ALD door, whereby the various internal mechanisms will then break and prepare powders that can be thrown into small cups for analysis.

It will be a forensic examination, looking at all aspects of sample composition.

All the previous roveries have come up with a big question. They basically just wondered if the conditions on Mars today or in the past were favorable to life – if ever it existed. They did not actually have the necessary equipment to truly discover biomarkers.

Rosalind Franklin will be different. Its 54 kg ALD is made specifically for the search for those complex organic molecules that come from life processes.

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NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

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American roveries have established that Mars is certainly alive – but was it inhabited?

Integration from Thursday was sluggish and thoughtful, understandable: ALD is in many ways a key element of the Rosalind Franklin mission.

"It's wonderful to see how the rover heart is now installed," says Sue Horne, head of space research at the UK Space Agency.

"An analytical lab tray is a key place to test Marver's specimens, enabling us to understand geology and potentially identify signatures on Mars. I can not wait to see which discoveries are ready for this British rover building."

Engineers in Airbus UK now work three shifts a day to complete the rover.

Although it does not look like a vehicle at the moment, almost all of the components have now come to the Stevenage factory.

They were sitting on the shelves around the edge of the clean room in the pouches waiting for the order in the assembly line.

However, there are one or two extraordinary items, including the British "eye" rover.

This is the camera system, or PanCam, who will sit on the top of the mast and run the robots on his quest for investigation.

"We just held a Review Review Board this week, and PanCam should come in the next few days," said Chris Draper, Airbus Aircraft Operations Leader.

"We know that everything will go together, that's the beauty of system engineering, every part of the rover is modeled in 3D, and everyone works on interface design drawings." Suppose we all do this, then we know that ALD, for example, they fit into the rover. "

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Mariner 4 recorded the first footage of Mars on a grand scale in 1965

Stevenage's team has the deadline for the beginning of August to complete rosalind Franklin at the door.

He must contact Toulouse for a series of tests that will ensure that the design is robust enough to cope with the heavy earthquake experienced on the rocket launch on Mars.

It then follows further control in France before sending it to the launch site at the famous cosmopolitan Baikonur in Kazakhstan.

Lifting must take place in July / August next year. This date is immobile: you only go to Mars when aligned with Earth, and windows have an interval of 26 months.

Rover Name: Who Was Rosalind Franklin?

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Getty Images / ESA

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Rosalind Franklin rover is a joint project of Europe and Russia

In 1952, Rosalind Franklin was at King's College London (KCL) exploring the atomic DNA sequence, using his X-ray crystallography skills to create images for analysis.

One of her paintings, known as Figure 51, provided Cricku and Watson with a basic insight to build a first three-dimensional duplicate macromolecule model.

This was one of the top achievements of 20th century science, enabling researchers to finally understand how DNA stores, copies, and transmits genetic "life".

Crick, Watson and his colleague Maurice Wilkins received the Nobel Prize in 1962 for a breakthrough.

Franklin's premature death meant that he could not be considered a prize (Nobel prizes are not awarded posthumously). However, many claim that her contribution has never been devoted to the attention she deserves and even underestimated.

  • BBC – In our time: Melvyn Bragg remembers the life of Rosalind Franklin

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