Psalm 8:3-4
“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”

David Bowie sang about the Spiders from Mars, but by the time you hear this Creation Moment, the sky above the Red Planet could be buzzing with helicopters; well, one helicopter at least. NASA’s Perseverance mission was launched successfully on July 30th, 2020 and was scheduled to land in the Jezero Crater on February 18th, 2021. We probably know much more about this landing site for a robotic spacecraft than we did about the Mare Tranquilitatis Apollo 11 landing site on the Moon in 1969. The surface of Mars has been extensively mapped by orbiting craft. Many landings have taken so-called rovers with them. Perseverance is another such rover and carries seven different sensing instruments. It will even collect a number of samples for returning to Earth, though the Perseverance mission itself will not return; NASA hopes that a mission in 2026 will be able to retrieve the samples.

One very interesting extra feature of Perseverance is that it carries with it the very first aircraft to operate in another planet’s atmosphere. Ingenuity is a sort-of helicopter, or perhaps a drone, designed to be able to fly in the tenuous Martian atmosphere. Seven flights of this robotic drone will provide much new information.

Unfortunately, the focus of the mission is, once again, the fruitless search for extraterrestrial life. But I will still follow the mission with interest because God made Mars, and what we find there will cause us to praise our Creator all the more.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the brilliant minds that You gave to scientists and engineers who plan space missions. And thank You for Your universe, which declares Your glory. Amen.

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Ref: Perseverance mission page, < https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/ >, accessed 7/30/2020. Image: Artist’s impression of Perseverance and Ingenuity on Mars, NASA, Public Domain image.

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