We’re all familiar with the idea of a rover landing on Mars, but how many of us know what it’s like to be the first person to do so?
Eric Landers, a Land Rover researcher and author of the book Mars 2020, spent years on the Red Planet before he landed on the surface in 2019.
He tells Science Insider that the experience is not only inspiring, but exhilarating.
Landers is a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the author of several books including The Mars Landers Handbook.
The book describes the journey from the surface of Mars to landing on the moon.
“You can’t really imagine landing on Earth,” Landers says.
“It’s very, very different from the Earth.
We had to go on a journey of nearly three years to get there.
And that was done on the basis of an extremely primitive robot, called a rover.
That’s what the original mission was called.”
When Landers landed on Mars in 2019, he said, “I was amazed that this little robot that I’d built was able to land on the planet.”
But the journey of the lander took about three months.
The first few months were spent learning about the planet’s history, then getting to know the landscape and the different types of rocks and minerals that were on the landers surface.
“This was very challenging because I was trying to learn a lot about the Martian environment and how to understand the Martian surface,” Landings says.
Lander was able, through his experience, to learn about the surface chemistry, including the chemical composition of Mars.
The second phase of the mission, called the Exploration Zone, was focused on getting to the bottom of the Red Giant.
“That’s when we really started to get a good understanding of the Martian atmosphere and the atmosphere of Mars, and then how the Martian climate was changing,” Lander says.
The third phase of his mission was the Exploration and Laboratory Activities.
Landes work involved taking samples from the Martian soil and analyzing the samples.
In 2020, Landers was able finally to bring a sample of Martian soil back to Earth.
That sample was sent back to Mars for analysis and sent back in 2021.
In 2019, Lander landed on Earth to deliver the first samples back to the Red Rock Lab on the International Space Station.
“I had a pretty big feeling when we landed that it was going to be a great place to be,” Landes says.
But when he and his crewman got back to their lab, they discovered that there was not much left of the landing.
The Mars rover that Landers and his team had built was no longer operational, so they had to replace it with a robot.
The robot, named Eric, was designed by an aerospace engineering graduate student named Brian Gentry.
Gentry says the mission was not an easy one.
The team built a robotic arm that was capable of lifting a load of about 250 kilograms and was capable to do it on Mars.
Gents team also had to learn to use the robotic arm and a land tool that was needed for the next phase of their mission.
Genter explains the first stage of the robotic mission was to bring up a sample to be analyzed.
After that, they had a problem.
“We had an electrical problem, which was when the solar panel was about to come on,” Gentry explains.
“And the solar panels would not turn on, so it was really hard to control the solar array.
So we were getting lots of solar panels, and the robot was trying, but it wasn’t going to turn on.”
The team also learned how to use a robotic hand that was designed to do a few simple tasks.
The hand could open up a hatch on the robot and let them know when they had completed their task, Gentry tells Science.
The next phase involved making a robot that was able move across the Martian landscape and get back to a location they had been.
“They were really very well trained, and they were able to take care of the rest of the tasks,” Genter says.
After the third phase, the team had to get to the surface.
The rover had to be able to go across the surface, land, and get to a safe location to return to Earth and prepare the sample.
That was the most difficult part of the whole project, Genter said.
Gentes team worked with the rover and the Mars Science Laboratory, which has a robotic rover, to design and build the robot.
They then built a test rig that was used to make sure the robot would work on Mars during the return.
They spent three months in the desert testing the robot, then they sent the robot off to the Mars lab for testing.
The Martian soil had changed a lot in the last three years.
The soil had turned darker and had become less acidic.
“The soil was actually getting quite a bit thicker than the soil on Earth, so you were really looking