NASA’s next Mars Rover called Perseverance will honour and pay a tribute to healthcare workers such as doctors and nurses from across the world that are at the forefront of the battle against the coronavirus.
The rover, which is scheduled to be launched on 20th July, has been outfitted with a commemorative 3-by-5-inch (8 by 13 centimeters) aluminum plate that features the staff-and-serpent symbol of the medical community. The symbol is holding up the Earth, from which a spacecraft is departing for the Red Planet.
This small plate has been fixed between the middle and the rear wheels on the left side of the chassis of Perseverance.
“We wanted to demonstrate our appreciation for those who have put their personal well-being on the line for the good of others,” Perseverance deputy project manager Matt Wallace, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement. “It is our hope that when future generations travel to Mars and happen upon our rover, they will be reminded that back on Earth in the year 2020 there were such people.”
According to the website of NASA, the primary goal of the rover, which will be launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, is to seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for possible return to Earth.
Despite major roadblocks that NASA is facing due to the lockdowns due to the coronavirus, the Perseverance team has been working consistently on ensuring that the launch window of the rover until 11th August 2020 is not pushed back. This is because if the deadline is missed, the rover cannot be launched till 2022, when there will be an appropriate alignment between Earth and Mars.
Earlier in March 2020, NASA had conducted a nationwide naming competition among children in the United States, asking them to suggest a name for the rover. 13-year-old seventh grader from Virginia, Alexander Mather won the competition by suggesting the name ‘Perseverance.’
The global medical workforce and healthcare community deserves all the acclaim and honour for their heroic deeds!
Isn’t this a beautiful tribute? Do let us know your views on this in the comments section below.