Still six months out till Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover touches down Martian Soil. But, what good is our tracking if we can’t locate where the rover’s ride is now on its journey to Mars. Can we track, the Mars 2020 craft even still in space and on it’s path to Mars orbit?
Is the Mars 2020 craft still visible to the naked eye?
If tracking visibly is what you are expecting. Then sorry to disappoint for that is really impractical to accomplish. You may have the powerful telescope. That won’t get you an ease of locating a spacecraft in the void of space with some sparkle of other heavenly bodies in the background. You might get more nuisance that seeing the actual craft.
Here’ s an actual capture of the Mars 2020 craft with it’s tumbling booster. It’s a more that a minute video. But, in this video you can barely identify which is Perseverance and other celestial objects. Just refer to the in video pointer and there’s Percy.
Take note this was taken from a weather satellite. So, naked eye is not option.
Can simulate Mars 2020, Perseverance Rover location Mathematically?
Glad you ask and Yes, you can. It’s a Grade 9-12 Math actually. So, are you up to it? Well, I’m not going to derive the exact location of the Mars 2020 Perseverance. Instead I’m going to share to you how to calculate the launch windows to Mars.
Deriving the launch windows would dictate the flight path of the Mars Exploration Crafts to Mars. The key to all of this window, is to send a mission to Mars just right that it rendezvous with Mars at a precise time.
You don’t want to send a mission too early or too late just to find out that Mars is not there.
We just need it to be at the exact time. Precision is the key.
For the procedure on identifying trajectories towards Mars. You can refer to Let’s Go to Mars! Calculating Launch Windows for the 10 steps approach. Be ready with graphing paper. It’s a fun way to exercise you problem solving skills and who know you might actually plot Mars 2020 Perseverance rover’s flight path. All images courtesy of NASA JPL.
An Eye in the cosmos
NASA has all the Mathematics and Models for simulating a spacecrafts path in space. They know all the right calculations in this one. They been doing this for decades and improving the technology on each mission.
NASA’s eyes is a freely available computer visualization to render scientifically accurate views of the planets and spacecraft in study. It’s a very interactive application to view some of the heavenly bodies, such as comets, as well. You an option to search for a planet or craft and see it as itself. Or, on its actual location.
It’s quite fun, you should try it. Here the NASA’s eye home page. Just go to the search box to locate a planet or craft you would like to view. Here’s an actual URL for Mars 2020 Perseverance location.
Exciting days ahead
I am looking forward to next year for Perseverance adventure in Mars. We are so lucky to have been provided and opportunity to take part with the journey(even if not physically). But, through technology, we are brought into a common vision and hope. That, in little ways, we can still come into unison.
Challenges might come. But, that doesn’t hinder us to more forward. Take all doubts away and Persevere to claim that goal.
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