Why should we go to Mars? by David Mimoun - TEDxColomiers

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The InSight mission has been launched on May 5th and it’s currently on its way to the red planet in a solar transfer orbit. Since the 1950s more than fifty missions to Mars have been launched, half of them unsuccessful.

So, why should we go to Mars and use the most brilliant minds of the planet to send half a ton of technology at the surface of another world, when our world seems to need our constant care? David Mimoun is an associate professor in space systems at ISAE-SUPAERO since 2007, and deputy head of the Master in Astrophysics of the University of Toulouse.

He leads the SSPA (Space Systems for Planetology and Applications) ISAE-SUPAERO research team, focusing on the design of space mission and space instruments for the geophysical exploration of the solar system. He was the systems engineer of the SEIS Martian seismometer, until its selection by NASA as part of the InSight 2018 mission. He is currently co-investigator of the InSight mission, in charge of overall performance.

Guest Researcher at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory / Caltech in 2013-2014, he is also a collaborator of NASA’s upcoming Martian Rover (March 2020), with the supply of the very first Martian microphone (made at ISAE-Supaero) on board SuperCam. He is also the PI of the first CubeSat of the ISAE-SUPAERO, EntrySat.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

Why should we go to Mars? by David Mimoun - TEDxColomiers

25 November 2018

Why should we go to Mars? by David Mimoun - TEDxColomiers

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French SUPERCAM instrument records audio from INGENUITY's Fourth flight!
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French SUPERCAM instrument records audio from INGENUITY’s Fourth flight!

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French SUPERCAM instrument records audio from INGENUITY’s Fourth flight! NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/CNRS/ISAE-SUPAERO

Perseverance was parked 80 metres from the small rotorcraft, which rose to five metres and then hovered before flying downrange for 133 metres and returning to its take-off and landing spot. SuperCam’s science microphone, developed by ISAE-SUPAERO, recorded the sound from the helicopter’s whirring rotors during the flight. The sound registered 84 hertz, equivalent to a low E note on the piano or a bass voice type.
“This is a wonderful surprise for the science team!” said Naomi Murdoch, a research scientist with ISAESUPAERO who is studying the data captured by the microphone. “Testing in a Mars atmosphere simulator to design this instrument and our sound propagation theories led us to believe the microphone would find it very difficult to discern sounds from the helicopter. As Mars’ atmosphere is very tenuous, it really attenuates sounds. So we needed a bit of luck to pick up the helicopter from this range. We’re thrilled to have obtained this recording, which is going to be a gold mine for our understanding of the planet’s atmosphere.”
Developed jointly by ISAE-SUPAERO and a consortium of laboratories attached to the French national scientific research centre CNRS and partner laboratories, coordinated by CNES, SuperCam’s microphone is derived from a consumer model adapted to withstand the Martian environment. The microphone is pursuing three science and technology goals of the Mars 2020 mission:
Study the sounds generated by laser impacts on Martian rocks to better understand their surface mechanical properties.
- Seek to gain new insights into surface atmospheric phenomena such as wind turbulence, dust devils and wind interactions with the rover, and now with the helicopter.
- Analyse the sound signature of the rover’s movements, for example when it is using its robot arm, driving on flat or rugged terrain, and operating its pumps.
The microphone was first turned on a few hours after Perseverance’s landing, picking up the first sounds on Mars from atmospheric turbulence. It is used daily in combination with laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) to analyse the chemical make-up of Martian rocks.
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