The launch vehicle with the Mars rover “Perseverance” has technical problems, according to the US space agency Nasa. Data indicated that the missile had switched to a security mode, said Nasa on Thursday. Part of the spaceship in the shadow of the earth may have become too cold.
There were also delays in establishing a communication link with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. In the meantime, the rocket has left the earth’s shadow and the temperatures have normalized, said Nasa. A comprehensive review is currently underway.
Deputy Head of Mission Matt Wallace said the incident was not too worrying. “It’s perfectly fine, the rocket is happy,” he said. The team is currently testing the functions of the missile. “So far, everything I’ve seen is looking good. We’ll know more shortly.” When a launcher goes into safe mode, it turns off all but the necessary systems.
The missile was launched on Thursday morning from Cape Canaveral. The journey was estimated to take seven months, and the rover is supposed to search for possible traces of earlier life forms on the Red Planet.
The Mars mission is NASA’s most ambitious so far to the Red Planet. “Perseverance” is the fifth and most technically demanding Mars rover in the USA. Among other things, the vehicle is equipped with a robotic arm and around 20 cameras as well as a mini helicopter.
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