Mars 2020 Perseverance will be a complex science laboratory, soon, on on the red planet. Housed with high tech instruments and with are some of the first’s to be tried or operated on Mars. As a first astrobiologist itself, there are more on its sleeves comes touchdown in Mars.
as·tro·bi·o·lo·gy (/ˌastrōbīˈäləjē/) – the branch of biology concerned with the study of life on earth and in space This is not your typical research paper and Science homework. I’m sharing you an amazing step of Mars exploration. Where in, we dedicate a mission…a Rover in that matter, for such a goal. Curiosity equals Mars Science
But, what’s more interesting and exciting to look forward to is it’s capability to peek into the sub-surface structure of Mars. For most explorers, the surface is a convenience with the wonders laid out at the onset. For most part, it is already given. The anatomy of an unknown planet, is better understood if you peer into what’s beneath the surface.
Scratching the surface
In search for past microbial life, what’s beneath the surface is a good way to start. Traces of those life could be perfectly preserved and free from the hostile environment on the surface. There are multiple ways to approach this. But, most of those are destructive. Although, Mars 2020 Perseverance rover has some cool and proven tools for drilling. That’s basically, intruding the structural integrity of any samples.
Smart way to do that is by taking an image of the sub-surface. And what better way to approach it is with a ground-penetrating radar instrument.
Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment (RIMFAX). Cool acronym… I’m sure you’ll figure out how to equate it with the actual definition… This instrument will help reveal up to 30 feet (10 meters) sub-surface structures. Taking images of layers of the surface directly beneath the rover.
RIMFAX will operate like any RADARs on Earth. It’s a first on Mars. But, definitely looking for traces for one of the pillars that supports life. Water is one of those pillars. In the north of the planet it is in Ice form. Possibly, it could be is in the same form beneath the hostile surface environment.
RIMFAX will be a quick snapshot of Mars sub-terrain and is vital in locating spot for sample extraction (such as drilling through the surface). Scouring through the Martian surface with this tool will be beneficial for future Mars missions. It provides another layer of mapping of the red planet.
The story behind the name
As pulled from the quote above. RIMFAX is from Hrímfaxi the horse in Norse mythology. Making sense with the acronym and the nature of the name is timely. NASA have sent multiple probes to Mars, and most of them have outlived way more than their intended Sols(days on Mars). Virtually, those proves are a “horse”. With the wheeled probes they are and soon with Perseverance it will be a “work horse”.
Scouring through the Martian surface. It will not be galloping. But, patiently traversing through it and taking time in peering every inches and depths of the surface. It will not tire and not feel the burdens of carrying the expectation of turning every stones and finding answers to questions humans have been eager to hear for decades.
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