The Perseverance rover landed on Mars on Thursday after seven months of travel.
He will collect samples that will allow us to know whether or not there was life on the red planet.
A huge relief in the Californian control room and ... in France, because French astrophysicists are working on this project.
Europe 1 followed with them the last minutes of the landing.
After 11 minutes of anguish, it's deliverance: the news is good and the engineers from CNES (the French space agency) and CNRS, gathered Thursday evening in front of the giant screen of the Cité de l'Espace in Toulouse , exult.
The Perseverance rover touched down on Martian soil on Thursday, apparently without a hitch.
A huge relief for these engineers who have been working for years on tools on board, in particular the SuperCam, which should make it possible to analyze rocks on the surface of the planet.
>> Find Europe Matin in replay and podcast here
Philippe Caïs is the chief engineer in charge of the on-board SuperCam.
"We are extremely relieved because we know that accidents happen. Now science is taking over. What we are going to do with the rover and the Supercam is to select the targets, put them in capsules and bring back to Earth in 2030 ”.
For him, it is the assurance of scientific advances for the next 10 years.
"We feel better, much, much better! It's so incredible. That's it, we're on the surface. We heard that the signal was very good. We are stable. The first image of these landscapes has arrived, it's mineral, it's rock, sand. With the shadow of the rover above us, since it is taken by cameras which are very low ", testifies Sylvestre Maurice, astrophysicist at the Institute of research in astrophysics and planetology, institute which designed the camera placed on the robot.
My first look at my forever home.
# CountdownToMarspic.twitter.com / dkM9jE9I6X
- NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) February 18, 2021
The structure of SuperCam was built by Comat, an SME near Toulouse.
And his boss Benoît Moulas cannot get over participating in such an adventure.
"We're super proud! It makes us participate in space exploration, to try to find out if there is life on Mars! We are super happy to participate in this channel, it's crazy."
Check the systems and collect the first analyzes
The robot is put down but remains to make sure that everything works well.
It will be tested on Saturday.
"We're going to talk to the instrument: 'Is everything okay?'
And we hope that he will answer us 'I'm fine' ", explains Sylvestre Maurice.
"You still have to check that all the systems have survived all this entry, these shocks. I savor each step; there it was the landing which was very important, and in the days to come I will re-worry myself. again for the next step: switching on the instrument. "
Over the weekend, the mast will unfold to allow the first images and the first analyzes of Martian rocks to be collected.
NASA promises to release an unprecedented video of the dizzying descent of perseverance on Monday.