NASA’s Perseverance rover lands on Mars
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Mr Beaune was mocked after he celebrated the NASA Mars rover landing as a “European” success, attaching an EU flag to a Tweet about the mission. Included in the Tweet was a photo showing the various parts of the rover created by member states Spain, France and Italy.
However, he also included the flag of Norway, which is not a member state.
The French European Affairs Minister wrote: “Perseverance. Superb space success NASA, with close European cooperation.”
But Les Patriotes leader, Florian Philippot, was prompt to point out Norway, who contributed to the space project, is not a member of the European Union.
He said: “Hold on, Norway belongs to the EU now?
“This obsession with love for the EU, even if it means telling big lies, is very unhealthy!”
Norway, although not a member of the Brussels bloc, is a member of the European Space Agency.
The UK also supported the project with over £400,000 in funds from the UK Space Agency.
Researchers at Imperial College London and the Natural History Museum will help to decide which samples are sent to Earth in a search for evidence of ancient microbial life on Mars.
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Professor Sanjeev Gupta from Imperial College London will help NASA oversee mission operations from a science and engineering point of view and Professor Mark Sephton, also from Imperial College London, will be helping to identify samples of Mars that could contain evidence of past life.
Meanwhile, Professor Caroline Smith, from the Natural History Museum, will be studying the mineralogy and geochemistry of the different rocks found in Jezero Crater. Dr Keyron Hickman-Lewis, also from the Natural History Museum, will be studying the environments reflected by sedimentary rocks exposed in Jezero Crater and the potential for the preservation of ancient microbial life within.
UK Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “The Red Planet has been a source of fascination for centuries, and it is thrilling to be that little bit closer to finding out if there is life on Mars.
“I am incredibly grateful to the scientists, researchers and engineers involved in this effort from the UK and around the world, and trust that it will inspire a new generation of space scientists across the country.”
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The Perseverance rover touched down on Mars on Thursday night. It will now start its search for signs of alien life, Nasa revealed.
Perseverance became only the second rover to reach Mars, after Curiosity in 2012.
But this time around, Nasa will be investigating a different crater, near the planet’s equator.
The rover landed in a “nice, flat spot”, according to the landing team leader, Allen Chen, who confirmed that the rover was safe and ready to go.
“We did successfully find that parking lot and have a safe rover on the ground,” he said. “I couldn’t be more proud of my team for doing that.”
Perseverance landed at 8.55pm on Thursday night, which was greeted by a chorus of cheers in the Nasa control room.
Controllers were separated by see-through screens to maintain social distancing, but the excitement was still visible to everyone watching.
Moments after the landing was confirmed, the rover sent the first two images of Mars’ surface back to Earth.
Dust was covering large portions of the image, but it was still possible to see a flat surface ahead of the vehicle.
Earlier this morning, on Friday, Nasa revealed its highlights reel of the Perseverance landing.
It included the exact moment that the Mars rover touched down, sending the control room into pandemonium.
The NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Twitter account tweeted: “Miss my landing? Catch the highlights below.
“Send us your own highlights too. Share your pictures and videos using #CountdownToMars.”
The Mars rover launched from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, back on July 30 2020.
The plan was to use the rover to collect Mars samples, and then return them to Earth.
Perseverance will investigate the rock and sediment of Jezero’s former lakebed and river delta.
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