Perseverance counts on Portugal to return safelly

18 February 2021

The Perseverance Rover landed safelly on Mars today and, when returning to Earth, it will be Portuguese technology to protect its samples.

With a mission to collect samples of Martian soil to seek past life evidences, the Perseverance Rover landed in the “Red Planet” today. But, 10 years from now, how will this samples get back to the Earth? That is where a Portuguese consortium of companies takes important action.

The capsule responsible for the safe transport and return to the Earth of the samples collected by NASA’s robot is made by Portuguese engineering developed by ISQ, PIEP and Stratosphere (AED Cluster members), along with Amorim Cork Composites.

This consortium developed a shield system for thermal protection and shock absorption on landing, which will enable the capsule to endure the high temperatures and speed entering Earth’s atmosphere and territory. The content inside the capsule will thus be protected on the final stage of the Perseverance mission endorsed by NASA and with the help of ESA.

Although the technology has already been developed and properly tested, we will probably have to wait more than a decade for it to be put to use.

After a successful landing, the Rover is now exploring Martian soil and collecting rock sediment in an area, the scientists believe, that has already seen water. The middle stage of this long and complex mission consists in transhipping the samples from the rover to a MAV (Mars Ascent Vehicle), that will be sent to Mars in the meantime, and will then place those samples on an European vehicle in which the protective capsule is integrated.

As representatives of the Portuguese Aeronautics, Space and Defence sectors, AED Cluster Portugal is proud to witness the Portuguese envolvement in one of the most exciting missions in the space industry, that will get us closer to answer the question of life existence outside our planet.

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