How NASA’s Mars 2020 Persistence Rover Will Get to Red Planet

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(Image credit: NASA)


Persistence is a narrow window for projection on Mars before it reaches the planet far away from Earth. Shortly before mid-August 2020, the rover will rise from launch 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station near Orlando, Florida. It is currently scheduled to begin on July 30, weather permitting.

The joint spacecraft, the Atlas V rocket, will have the capability to go into space aboard the same rocket that sent NASA’s Insight Lander and Curiosity Rover to Mars. After firmly reaching Earth orbit, a rocket will send the upper stage rover to Mars on a long cruise.

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(Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech)


Whenever Fortitude launches, it has a landing date of February 18, 2021 at the Zero Crater. It will spend the middle months flying towards Mars.

The cruiser period is an important time for engineers to continue checking on the rover (enclosed inside a protective shell) to ensure that all systems are ready for landing. When the fixture becomes close to Mars, engineers will fire the shell’s engine to put the rover in the correct position for landing on the Red Planet. But making the final approach to Mars is the first step to a complex landing sequence.

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(Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech)


You may remember the “seven-minute panic” sequence that NASA’s Curiosity rover received in 2012, the heaviest rover ever on the surface of Mars.

Entering the atmosphere, Curiosity had seven minutes to slow itself down to 13,000 mph (20,000 km / h) when it reached the surface, 0 mph to reach the surface. Perseverance uses similar systems for curiosity and will follow a lot of the same sequence, but with more advanced technology.

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(Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech)

Upper atmosphere

Based on the curiosity sequence, the first part of the persistence landing will involve moving safely through the upper atmosphere of Mars.

The heat shield of the fixture will be lower as it reaches a temperature of about 2,900 ° F (1,600 ° C). The thin atmosphere would slow the rover to around 1,000 mph (1,600 km / h) before deploying a huge parachute to the system.

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(Image credit: NASA)

Range trigger

Contrary to curiosity, Perseverance will use a “range trigger” to deflect the parachute based on the position of the spacecraft relative to its landing target – which can improve landing accuracy and bring the rover’s time to the correct probe area. Can do as much as one Earth year.

Persistence has a more advanced version of the MSL entry, descent, and landing instrumentation (MEDLI) sensor that Curiosity has used to visualize the properties of the environment. MEDLI2 collects data not only from the heat shield (as did Curiosity), but the spacebody’s afterbody – meaning, the part of the spacecraft behind the shield.

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(Image credit: NASA)

Terrain-relative navigation

Like Curiosity, Perseverance will begin its descent on the surface, under a parachute, at 200 kilometers per hour (322 km / h). After this, perseverance will deploy even more new technology to improve the chances of getting the right place.

The rover will use a refresh technique known as terrain-relative navigation to select the correct landing spot. It compares the land under the rover to maps obtained earlier from the orbit of Mars. If a strongly hazardous area is seen up to about 985 ft (300 m), it can change direction and move to a safer area. This new technology allows the Rover to land on difficult (and interesting) terrain with little risk.

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(Image credit: NASA)

gathering data

There are firmer and even more landing cameras on board than Curiosity. The fixture includes the “up look camera” on the parachute, the “down look” camera on the descent stage, the “up look” camera on the rover, and the “down look” camera on the rover.

With a microphone, the cameras are considered a “public engagement payload” that according to NASA allows people to ride with the rover on the surface and eliminate their last few feet (or meters) of descent. The cameras also provide valuable data to improve the safety of future Mars landings.

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(Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech)


Closer to the ground, the rocket would fire at the surface to slow its firmness and firmness. Rockets cannot hit the surface all the way, however, because an epic dust storm will be kicked off. So instead – like Curiosity in 2012 – a “sky crane” would win strongly under the surface on a 21-foot (6.4 m) cable.

Once firmly down, the sky will drop the crane cables and fly to the surface for a safe crash-landing, away from the rover.

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(Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech)


The roadway will not be hit immediately, as investigators will want to make sure the rover is in good working order after landing. Its equipment will be regularly checked, and the rover will also take some pictures of its landing area so planners can be targeted to see the best sites first.

Once the persistence is gone, its long-term goal is to locate rocks or change the atmosphere that could have supported microbial life, or rocks that, according to NASA, were in the “ancient past of Mars” Could hold ancient chemical traces of life. ” Some rocks will be drilled and set on Earth for future sample-return missions. Fortitude will also try to produce oxygen from Mars’ carbon dioxide atmosphere, a technology that may be useful for future manned missions.

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(Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech)


Fortitude will not ride on the surface alone. Riding its underbelly will be the Ingenuity helicopter, which will test “scouting forward” to fly on Mars and explore future Red Planet explorers. Choppers also have the advantage of flying over inaccessible rovers in dangerous areas, such as on steep hills or craters.

To conduct test flights, the Rover team would look for a zone of 33 feet by about 33 feet (10 by 10 meters). Perseverance will deploy the helicopter and send it back to watch the activities of Ingenuity from a football field located far away. Operators will operate for six Earth days, ensuring that Ingenuity is safe to fly. The helicopter will take some test flights and is built for about 30 Sol (Martian days).

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