18th February: Nasa has managed to crane their rover and helicopter into the Jezero Crater on Mars. It’s now about 2km from what is thought to be an ancient (that’s 4 billion years ago!) river delta that fed a huge lake. Jezero is a small town in Bosnia with a population of 1100, Jezero means lake in a number of Slavic languages. This crater was named in 2007 by the IAU as part of a project to name significant craters after small towns and villages in the world.
Now we await the testing of Perseverance and Ingenuity’s’ systems and for the science data to start to come back.
Mars2020 now joins the two other visitors to Mars this month:-
1) On the 9th February the successful mission by the UAE to put the Al Amal (Hope) Probe into orbit to study the Martian atmosphere amongst other objectives. This makes the UAE the 5th country to reach Mars and the second to enter orbit on it’s first try; and
2) Followed on the 10th February by the successful insertion of Chinas’ first mission to Mars, Tianwen-1, into orbit. It also carries a rover that is scheduled to land in May or June. The Tianwen-1 rover includes a ground penetrating radar that can “see” up to 100m below the surface.