As a student very interested in the world of technology and engineering, I have been writing reviews on new breakthroughs and discoveries that are happening in the rapidly changing platform. Below are two examples of the 22 (and continuing) review articles that I wrote. To view more, please visit my website (https://mjkim22.wixsite.com/about-joe/my-blog/categories/tech-engineering-review)

Article title: Everything You Need to Know About NASA’s Perseverance Rover Landing on Mars

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

My summary of the article:

NASA’s Perseverance Rover, a significant improvement over its precursor Curiosity, is, like Curiosity, another semi-autonomous mobile science platform the size of a small car. It is engineered such that it could spend years roving the surface of Mars, mostly looking for any evidence of life at a micro scale that may have thrived in the past when Mars had water. Although the overall design of the two rovers seem quite similar, Perseverance is a significantly larger, more durable, and more capable robot compared to Curiosity. It is equipped with more scientific equipment such as cameras and microphones, and has beefier wheels.

More specific details about the instruments that Perseverance bring to Mars are mentioned in the article. One unexpected equipment brought by Perseverance is a Mars Helicopter named ‘Ingenuity’. Its mission is not to do any science, but rather to validate whether autonomous flight is possible in the Martian atmosphere and to take some cool pictures  of Mars from above. Ingenuity will be launched from Perseverance when the rover is at a point that is safe to deploy the helicopter – i.e. a nice, flat area.

Perseverance is targeted to land at the bottom of Jezero crater, a 50km diameter crater where it is thought to had been an enormous lake in the ancient past of Mars. Evidences of canals near the crater that are in the form of rivers and streams provide promising evidence that the Jezero crater was indeed a lake in the past. NASA believes that since Jezero crater might have been a lake, there exists the possibility that deceased ancient microbial life is buried under where it had once been full of water, and Perseverance is deployed in order to find such physical evidence of ancient life on Mars. Unlike past rovers like Curiosity, Perseverance ultimately aims to return to Earth after collecting a sample of soil on Mars that may collect life. This would be the first ever transferring of originally extraterrestrial material from an alien planet to the Earth.

My response to the article:

The mars rover Perseverance sounds very promising – not only by the fact that it is equipped with a variety of necessary scientific gadgets, but also by the fact that it would be deployed to the Jezero crater, the location of Mars where the possibility of finding any sign of ancient life is the highest. It was intriguing from the video to see that there is direct and strong evidence that supports the theory that Mars was once an aquatic planet; I have always thought that this was a theory that is only weakly supported by the scientific community. This being said, even though I still don’t believe that there would be active life on Mars, I do now believe that there is quite a promising possibility that there exists a deceased ancient microbial life form and that Perseverance would be able to find this physical evidence and transfer it back to Earth for validation.

Building space-related equipment such as rockets, mars rovers, etc have been my dream since I started high school, and it has never changed. Thus is aerospace engineering the major that I want to study in university. I just cannot imagine how fun it would be to be surrounded by friends who have the same passion with me, altogether working on such unrealistically cool projects like building a Mars rover. Who knows? Maybe one day I would be working on NASA.

Bibliography

  • Ackerman, Evan. “Everything You Need to Know About NASA’s Perseverance Rover Landing on Mars.” IEEE Spectrum: Technology, Engineering, and Science News, IEEE, 15 Feb. 2021, 13:00 GMT, spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/aerospace/robotic-exploration/nasa-perseverance-rover-landing-on-mars-overview.
Moojo Joe Kim
Moojo Joe Kim

Student of NLCS Jeju
Chair of NLCS Jeju Engineering Society

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