The Perseverance vehicle arrived on Mars this Thursday loaded with material to study the Martian surface. Among the scientific instruments it carries, seven, in particular, the MEDA instrument is included, developed by Spanish scientists. Its main researcher, José Antonio Rodriguez-Manfredi, has been in Las Mananas de RNE with Inigo Alfonso to tell how they have lived the mission and its characteristics. The “second chapter” of the mission begins
The MEDA instrument is a meteorological instrument focused on the study of the atmosphere of the red planet, not only in technical terms to know its dynamics, how it moves, or how it will influence the rest of the investigations, but also “The NASA thinks ahead “and also intends to study the dust particles in suspension that dominate the atmosphere of Mars, which may affect future manned expeditions.
Rodríguez-Manfredi points out that Thursday was a day of many nerves and that they feel excited, and awaits the second part of the mission that arrives after landing: to know that the instruments have arrived correctly. On arrival, supersonic winds are generated that could affect the MEDA as a meteorological instrument. To do so, they hope that MEDA will transmit the first atmospheric data from the Martian surface tonight.Perseverance will help manned missions. Perseverance will help get astronauts to Mars, says the researcher. The study of dust on the surface of the atmosphere will be important to achieve this purpose, as well as the experimentation on the ground of new technologies that will be used by astronauts who arrive on the red planet.
A mission with an eye to the not-too-distant future, which could become a reality in the early years of the next decade, he says. Although the trip is long, seven months it has taken the vehicle to land on this planet, the researcher says that there is already a lot of knowledge about how this affects the body due to the stay of astronauts on the International Space Station. Even so, he affirms, one must be “very prepared” and work on developing the necessary technology, which is “tremendously complex”, to support this mission. Fifth rover on Mars, most advanced. Perseverance is the fifth vehicle that NASA has launched on this planet, although it is more advanced than its older sister Curiosity.
Rodríguez-Manfredi points out that this mission is also much more novel and ambitious from a scientific point of view because the astrobiological objective of looking for these traces of life has not been addressed since the Viking program in the 70s. The Spanish scientific contribution has been important for this mission, which the researcher points out that it is not only an advance for NASA, but also humanity, thus encouraging young people to be an active part of space exploration. It is a new opportunity whatever his field of action, he says, because “everything has a place in the exploration of space, you just need passion to live it intensely.