For a long time now, Mars has been the planet of mystery for everyone out there. This week marks the 50-day milestone for the journey of NASA Perseverance to Mars. The space rover is going to go for the launch window between July 17 and August 5, 2020. Engineers behind the Perseverance project are laying the final touches before the rover which includes two new detective bots land on Mars.
The new robots will scavenge the red planet in order to find signs for life. The most important mystery about Mars is whether the red planet was home to alien life forms or not. Reports from NASA’s Curiosity rover show about the possibility of life forms to have inhabited the planet long ago.
Traveling to Mars this summer aboard @NASAPersevere:
SHERLOC = an instrument to search for sand-grain size clues
WATSON = a camera to capture close-up images
— NASA (@NASA) May 29, 2020
NASA Perseverance: SHERLOC and WATSON
S.H.E.R.L.O.C. is an acronym for Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals. It is an instrument present on NASA Perseverance rover which will look for microscopic clues of life on the Martian surface. The instrument will help to find organic molecules and minerals which are basically the building blocks of life. The name is a play of words on the iconic character Sherlock Holmes.
If you’ve read the books then you already know there is a sidekick to this robot. NASA developed WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor) in order to help SHERLOC carry on the investigation. The autofocusing camera on SHERLOC will only shoot black and white images, while WATSON will focus on the textures with its color camera. The laser will be used by SHERLOC to center in on the rocks while WATSON renders the images.
Hopefully, this time around NASA Perseverance will be able to find some clues of life in the Red Planet. Let us know what you think of this in the comments section below!
Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.