NASA: Mars 2020 - Next Generation Rover

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NASA: Mars 2020 - Next Generation Rover

Post by bystander » Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:01 pm

Next Mars Rover Will Have 23 'Eyes'
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Mars 2020 | 2017 Oct 31
When NASA's Mars Pathfinder touched down in 1997, it had five cameras: two on a mast that popped up from the lander, and three on NASA's first rover, Sojourner.

Since then, camera technology has taken a quantum leap. Photo sensors that were improved by the space program have become commercially ubiquitous. Cameras have shrunk in size, increased in quality and are now carried in every cellphone and laptop.

That same evolution has returned to space. NASA's Mars 2020 mission will have more "eyes" than any rover before it: a grand total of 23, to create sweeping panoramas, reveal obstacles, study the atmosphere, and assist science instruments. They will provide dramatic views during the rover's descent to Mars and be the first to capture images of a parachute as it opens on another planet. There will even be a camera inside the rover's body, which will study samples as they're stored and left on the surface for collection by a future mission.

All these cameras will be incorporated as the Mars 2020 rover is built at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. They represent a steady progression since Pathfinder: after that mission, the Spirit and Opportunity rovers were designed with 10 cameras each, including on their landers; Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover has 17. ...

Mars 2020 Rover
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23 'Eyes' but no 'Ears'

Post by neufer » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:25 pm

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/bruce-betts/2016/0215-mars-2020-microphone.html wrote:
A new hope for a microphone on Mars: Enhancing Mars 2020 science with sound
Bruce Betts & Emily Lakdawalla • February 15, 2016

<<When the Mars 2020 rover lands, we may finally hear the first audio recordings from the Martian surface. The Planetary Society has been working for decades to land a Mars Microphone, something that would add a second human sense to the amazing imagery we currently get, and would be very engaging and exciting for not only scientists, but also for the general public. Unfortunately, the only two such instruments to have launched suffered sad fates. The first Planetary Society Mars Microphone crashed with Mars Polar Lander. The second microphone to fly to Mars, on Phoenix, was never turned on because of the potential for an electronic problem. The payload of the ExoMars 2018 rover may include infrasound and pressure sensors that could produce sound-like recordings. In an abstract submitted to the 2016 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (PDF), members of the Mars 2020 SuperCam team explain how including a microphone on their instrument could support their science -- and record sounds on Mars.

Sylvestre Maurice and his coauthors explain in the abstract that the microphone would be useful both for science and engineering. As with various past proposed and flight Mars microphones, sound in principle could serve as an independent constraint on wind speed, and could help identify the passing of dust devils. The microphone would also record all the various noises made by the rover: the whirr of the actuators, the crunch of the wheels across the ground, the pumps that keep the rover's Freon circulating. And the wind itself would create its own sound, whistling past the rover's various protuberances.>>
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Re: NASA: Mars 2020 - Next Generation Rover

Post by MarkBour » Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:07 pm

Can they also add the ability for it to "bark" ?
Then it would be the first one worthy of the name "Rover".
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NASA Builds its Next Mars Rover Mission - Mars 2020

Post by bystander » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:24 pm

NASA Builds its Next Mars Rover Mission
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Mars 2020 | 2017 Nov 28
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
In just a few years, NASA's next Mars rover mission will be flying to the Red Planet.

At a glance, it looks a lot like its predecessor, the Curiosity Mars rover. But there's no doubt it's a souped-up science machine: It has seven new instruments, redesigned wheels and more autonomy. A drill will capture rock cores, while a caching system with a miniature robotic arm will seal up these samples. Then, they'll be deposited on the Martian surface for possible pickup by a future mission.

This new hardware is being developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, which manages the mission for the agency. It includes the Mars 2020 mission's cruise stage, which will fly the rover through space, and the descent stage, a rocket-powered "sky crane" that will lower it to the planet's surface. Both of these stages have recently moved into JPL's Spacecraft Assembly Facility.

Mars 2020 relies heavily on the system designs and spare hardware previously created for Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover, which landed in 2012. Roughly 85 percent of the new rover's mass is based on this "heritage hardware." ...
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Re: NASA: Mars 2020 - Next Generation Rover

Post by Life Form » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:50 pm

MarkBour wrote:Can they also add the ability for it to "bark" ?
Then it would be the first one worthy of the name "Rover".
Not such a silly thought .. sound can often be more important than sight .. in attracting the curiosity of life forms one example.

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Re: NASA Builds its Next Mars Rover Mission - Mars 2020

Post by MarkBour » Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:32 pm

bystander wrote:NASA Builds its Next Mars Rover Mission
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Mars 2020 | 2017 Nov 28

In just a few years, NASA's next Mars rover mission will be flying to the Red Planet.
. . .
A drill will capture rock cores, while a caching system with a miniature robotic arm will seal up these samples. Then, they'll be deposited on the Martian surface for possible pickup by a future mission.
...
And that will be the Mars Rover Pooper-Scooper Mission?
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Re: NASA Builds its Next Mars Rover Mission - Mars 2020

Post by neufer » Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:45 pm


MarkBour wrote:
bystander wrote:NASA Builds its Next Mars Rover Mission
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Mars 2020 | 2017 Nov 28
In just a few years, NASA's next Mars rover mission will be flying to the Red Planet.
. . .
A drill will capture rock cores, while a caching system with a miniature robotic arm will seal up these samples. Then, they'll be deposited on the Martian surface for possible pickup by a future mission.
And that will be the Mars Rover Pooper-Scooper Mission?
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Mars2020: A Piece of Mars Is Going Home

Post by bystander » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:32 pm

A Piece of Mars Is Going Home
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Mars 2020 | 2018 Feb 13
A chunk of Mars will soon be returning home.

A piece of a meteorite called Sayh al Uhaymir 008 (SaU008) will be carried on board NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission, now being built at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. This chunk will serve as target practice for a high-precision laser on the rover’s arm.

Mars 2020’s goal is ambitious: collect samples from the Red Planet’s surface that a future mission could potentially return to Earth. One of the rover’s many tools will be a laser designed to illuminate rock features as fine as a human hair.

That level of precision requires a calibration target to help tweak the laser’s settings. Previous NASA rovers have included calibration targets as well. Depending on the instrument, the target material can include things like rock, metal or glass, and can often look like a painter’s palette.

But working on this particular instrument sparked an idea among JPL scientists: why not use an actual piece of Mars? Earth has a limited supply of Martian meteorites, which scientists determined were blasted off Mars’ surface millions of years ago.

These meteorites aren’t as unique as the geologically diverse samples 2020 will collect. But they’re still scientifically interesting -- and perfect for target practice. ...
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Re: Mars2020: A Piece of Mars Is Going Home

Post by neufer » Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:08 pm

Click to play embedded YouTube video.
bystander wrote:
A chunk of Mars will soon be returning home.

These meteorites aren’t as unique as the geologically diverse samples 2020 will collect. But they’re still scientifically interesting -- and perfect for target practice. ...
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Mars 2020 Reaches Key Manufacturing Milestone

Post by bystander » Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:44 pm

Next NASA Mars Rover Reaches Key Manufacturing Milestone
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Mars 2020 | 2018 Mar 13
NASA's Mars 2020 mission has begun the assembly, test and launch operations (ATLO) phase of its development, on track for a July 2020 launch to Mars.

The first planned ATLO activities will involve electrical integration of flight hardware into the mission's descent stage. The Mars 2020 rover, as well as its cruise stage, aeroshell and descent stage -- a rocket-powered "sky crane" that will lower the rover to the planet's surface -- will undergo final assembly at the Spacecraft Assembly Facility High Bay 1 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. ...

Over the next year-and-a-half, engineers and technicians will add subsystems such as avionics, power, telecommunications, mechanisms, thermal systems and navigation systems onto the spacecraft. The propulsion systems were installed earlier this year on the cruise and descent stage main structures. ...
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NASA Announces Landing Site for Mars 2020 Rover

Post by bystander » Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:23 pm

NASA Announces Landing Site for Mars 2020 Rover
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Mars 2020 | 2018 Nov 19
NASA has chosen Jezero Crater as the landing site for its upcoming Mars 2020 rover mission after a five year search, during which every available detail of more than 60 candidate locations on the Red Planet was scrutinized and debated by the mission team and the planetary science community.

The rover mission is scheduled to launch in July 2020 as NASA’s next step in exploration of the Red Planet. It will not only seek signs of ancient habitable conditions – and past microbial life -- but the rover also will collect rock and soil samples and store them in a cache on the planet's surface. NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) are studying future mission concepts to retrieve the samples and return them to Earth, so this landing site sets the stage for the next decade of Mars exploration. ...

Jezero Crater is located on the western edge of Isidis Planitia, a giant impact basin just north of the Martian equator. Western Isidis presents some of the oldest and most scientifically interesting landscapes Mars has to offer. Mission scientists believe the 28-mile-wide (45-kilometer) crater, once home to an ancient river delta, could have collected and preserved ancient organic molecules and other potential signs of microbial life from the water and sediments that flowed into the crater billions of years ago.

Jezero Crater’s ancient lake-delta system offers many promising sampling targets of at least five different kinds of rock, including clays and carbonates that have high potential to preserve signatures of past life. In addition, the material carried into the delta from a large watershed may contain a wide variety of minerals from inside and outside the crater. ...
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Re: NASA Announces Landing Site for Mars 2020 Rover

Post by neufer » Tue Nov 20, 2018 5:45 pm

bystander wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:23 pm
NASA Announces Landing Site for Mars 2020 Rover
NASA has chosen Jezero Crater as the landing site for its upcoming Mars 2020 rover mission after a five year search. Mission scientists believe the 28-mile-wide (45-kilometer) crater, once home to an ancient river delta, could have collected and preserved ancient organic molecules and other potential signs of microbial life from the water and sediments that flowed into the crater billions of years ago.
What if Mars had intelligent microbial life that developed WMD's such as antibacterial soap and they simply wiped themselves off the planet :?:
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“YEH-zuh-doh”

Post by neufer » Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:29 am

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2018/jezero-landing-site-mars-2020-rover.html wrote:
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
.
<<Jezero — which is named after a town in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a 45-kilometer-wide crater that once held a lake. It is correctly pronounced something like YEH-zuh-doh,” though mission team members typically pronounce it “DZEH-zuh-row.”>>

:arrow: A flight around the crater that will host the Mars 2020 mission based on data from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The image and topography are from the Context Camera. The color is from the much wider-angle MARCI camera.

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Mars 2020 Rover Is Put to the Test

Post by bystander » Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:14 pm

Mars 2020 Rover Is Put to the Test
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Mars 2020 | 2019 Mar 19
In a little more than seven minutes in the early afternoon of Feb. 18, 2021, NASA's Mars 2020 rover will execute about 27,000 actions and calculations as it speeds through the hazardous transition from the edge of space to Mars' Jezero Crater. While that will be the first time the wheels of the 2,314-pound (1,050-kilogram) rover touch the Red Planet, the vehicle's network of processors, sensors and transmitters will, by then, have successfully simulated touchdown at Jezero many times before.

"We first landed on Jezero Crater on Jan. 23rd," said Heather Bottom, systems engineer for the Mars 2020 mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "And the rover successfully landed again on Mars two days later."

Bottom was the test lead for Systems Test 1, or ST1, the Mars 2020 engineering team's first opportunity to take the major components of the Mars 2020 mission for a test drive. Over two weeks in January, Bottom and 71 other engineers and technicians assigned to the 2020 mission took over the High Bay 1 cleanroom in JPL's Spacecraft Assembly Facility to put the software and electrical systems aboard the mission's cruise, entry capsule, descent stage and rover through their paces.

"ST1 was a massive undertaking," said Bottom. "It was our first chance to exercise the flight software we will fly on 2020 with the actual spacecraft components that will be heading to Mars — and make sure they not only operate as expected, but also interact with each other as expected." ...
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Things Are Stacking up for Mars 2020

Post by bystander » Fri Apr 19, 2019 3:21 pm

Things Are Stacking up for Mars 2020
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Mars 2020 | 2019 Apr 18
For the past few months, the clean room floor in High Bay 1 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has been covered in parts, components and test equipment for the Mars 2020 spacecraft, scheduled for launch toward the Red Planet in July of 2020. But over the past few weeks, some of these components - the spacecraft-rocket-laden landing system and even the stand-in for the rover (christened "surrogate-rover") - have seemingly disappeared.

In reality, they are still there, tucked neatly into the entry capsule, as they will be when it's time for launch. The procedure is known as vehicle stacking and involves a hyper-detailed plan for what goes where and when. ...

The first step is to place the rocket-powered descent stage on top of the surrogate rover (the real rover is being integrated and tested in tandem with the spacecraft stack). Then, when all the holes line up and everything is attached, checked and re-checked again, the back shell is lowered over them via gantry crane. ...

After the back shell is in place and everything is determined to be fitting properly, the team puts on the parachute nose cone, which protects the parachute during atmospheric entry, followed by the massive doughnut-shaped cruise stage, which will power the Mars 2020 spacecraft on its seven-month voyage to the Red Planet. Then the vehicle stack is turned on its side so technicians and engineers have access to the mating points between the cruise and descent stages to make connections. The stack is then returned to its original position (cruise stage on top) so the heat shield can be raised into position and attached. ...

After three weeks, stacking is finished on April 3, and the spacecraft is transported to JPL's Environmental Test Facility to undergo acoustic testing. During this testing the stack will be bombarded with a thundering wall of sound designed to imitate the sound waves generated during launch. Then, after a check to make sure no bolts have rattled loose or attachment points have become unstuck, the stack heads to the thermal vacuum chamber for a week-long test that simulates the harsh environment of space to assess how the Mars-bound craft and its instruments operate under flightlike conditions. ...
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Mars 2020 Gets HD Eyes

Post by bystander » Sat Jun 01, 2019 3:16 pm

Mars 2020 Gets HD Eyes
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Mars 2020 | 2019 May 31
One of the first operations the Mars 2020 rover will perform after touching down on the Red Planet's Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021, will be to raise its remote sensing mast (RSM), which carries important optics and instrumentation.

In this picture — taken on May 23, 2019, in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility's High Bay 1 clean room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California — engineers re-install the cover to the RSM head after integration of two Mastcam-Z high-definition cameras. Visible below the red lens cover is the left Mastcam-Z camera (with the "Remove Before Flight" labels); support equipment blocks the right Mastcam-Z from view. The RSM and its twin cameras will be installed on the rover's deck the week of June 3, 2019.

Mastcam-Z is a multispectral, stereoscopic imaging instrument that will enhance the Mars 2020 rover's driving and core-sampling capabilities. It will also enable science team members to observe textural, mineralogical, structural and morphologic details in rocks and sediment at any location within the rover's field of view, helping them piece together the planet's geologic history. ...
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Mars 2020 Will Blaze a Trail — for Humans

Post by bystander » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:43 pm

Mars 2020 Will Blaze a Trail — for Humans
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Mars 2020 | 2019 Jun 12
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Crazy Engineering: Making Oxygen on Mars with MOXIE (NASA/JPL-Caltech)
When a female astronaut first sets foot on the Moon in 2024, the historic moment will represent a step toward another NASA first: eventually putting humans on Mars. NASA's latest robotic mission to the Red Planet, Mars 2020, aims to help future astronauts brave that inhospitable landscape.

While the science goal of the Mars 2020 rover is to look for signs of ancient life — it will be the first spacecraft to collect samples of the Martian surface, caching them in tubes that could be returned to Earth on a future mission — the vehicle also includes technology that paves the way for human exploration of Mars.

The atmosphere on Mars is mostly carbon dioxide and extremely thin (about 100 times less dense than Earth's), with no breathable oxygen. There's no water on the surface to drink, either. The landscape is freezing, with no protection from the Sun's radiation or from passing dust storms. The keys to survival will be technology, research and testing.

Mars 2020 will help on all those fronts. When it launches in July of 2020, the spacecraft will carry the latest scientific and engineering tools, which are coming together as the rover is built at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Here's a closer look. ...
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The Mast Is Raised for Mars 2020

Post by bystander » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:53 pm

The Mast Is Raised for NASA's Mars 2020 Rover
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Mars 2020 | 2019 Jun 14
In this image, taken on June 5, 2019, engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, take a moment after attaching the remote sensing mast to the Mars 2020 rover in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility's High Bay 1 clean room. Full integration of the mast — a process that includes installation of science instrument sensors, electrical wiring and checkout — continued into the following week, concluding on June 11.

During Mars 2020's launch, interplanetary cruise, and its fast and fiery descent toward the Martian surface, the mast will be in stowed flat on the rover's deck. Soon after touchdown, the mast (which tops out at over 7 feet, or 2.2 meters) will be raised to provide a high perch for the SuperCam, Mastcam-Z and Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer instruments as well as four Navcam engineering cameras. ...

In a mission first, the rover carries a sample-caching system that will collect Martian rock and soil samples and store them on the planet's surface for retrieval and return to Earth by subsequent missions. Mars 2020 will also be the first spacecraft in the history of planetary exploration with the ability to accurately retarget its point of touchdown during the landing sequence — technology that could prove essential to future crewed missions to the Moon and Mars. ...
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Mars 2020 Gets Its Wheels

Post by bystander » Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:06 pm

Mars 2020 Gets Its Wheels
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Mars 2020 | 2019 Jun 20
In this image, taken on June 13, 2019, engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, install the starboard legs and wheels - otherwise known as the mobility suspension - on the Mars 2020 rover. They installed the port suspension later that day. ...

Within the next few weeks, the team expects to install the vehicle's robotic arm, the mast-mounted SuperCam instrument and the Sample Caching System, which includes 17 separate motors and will collect samples of Martian rock and soil that will be returned to Earth by a future mission.

Both of the rover's legs (the starboard leg's black tubing can be seen above the wheels) are composed of titanium tubing formed with the same process used to make high-end bicycle frames. The wheels in this picture are engineering models and will not make the trip to Mars. They will be swapped out for flight models of the wheels sometime next year.

Made of aluminum, each of the six wheels (each 20.7 inches, or 52.5 centimeters, in diameter) features 48 grousers, or cleats, machined into its surface to provide excellent traction both in soft sand and on hard rocks. Every wheel has its own motor. The two front and two rear wheels also have individual steering motors that enable the vehicle to turn a full 360 degrees in place.

When driving over uneven terrain, the suspension system - called a "rocker-bogie" system due to its multiple pivot points and struts -maintains a relatively constant weight on each wheel and minimizes rover tilt for stability. Rover drivers avoid terrain that would cause a tilt of more than 30 degrees, but even so, the rover can withstand a 45-degree tilt in any direction without tipping over. With its suspension, the rover can also roll over rocks and other obstacles as well as through depressions the size of its wheels. ...
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EAS: SuperCam Instrument Integrated on Mars 2020

Post by bystander » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:47 am

SuperCam Instrument Integrated on NASA's Mars 2020 Rover
European Astronomical Society | 2019 Jun 27
The French/American SuperCam instrument has been delivered early June to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and has been integrated this week on NASA’s Mars 2020 rover. The French space agency, CNES, together with university institutes in France, developed the multi-purpose camera to remotely analyze minerals, chemistry, sounds, and test for compounds associated with life, together with the Los Alamos National Laboratory (US). ...

SuperCam is a souped-up version of ChemCam, which is currently operating aboard the Mars Curiosity rover. ChemCam data has revolutionized our understanding of the geology and atmosphere of Mars, having quantified abundances of elements as rare as lithium and boron as well as making discoveries with more abundant elements in over half a million spectra sent back from the red planet. Its discoveries have contributed to our current understanding of Mars as a once warmer and habitable planet.

SuperCam, with its expanded remote-sensing analysis tools, will yield even more detail than ChemCam about the mineralogy and the presence of compounds related to the possibility of life on the surface of Mars. ...
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Mars 2020's 7-Foot-Long Robotic Arm Installed

Post by bystander » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:54 am

Mars 2020 Rover's 7-Foot-Long Robotic Arm Installed
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Mars 2020 | 2019 Jun 27
In this image, taken on June 21, 2019, engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, install the main robotic arm on the Mars 2020 rover. (A smaller arm to handle Mars samples will be installed inside the rover as well.) The main arm includes five electrical motors and five joints (known as the shoulder azimuth joint, shoulder elevation joint, elbow joint, wrist joint and turret joint). Measuring 7 feet (2.1 meters) long, the arm will allow the rover to work as a human geologist would: by holding and using science tools with its turret, which is essentially its "hand."

"You have to give a hand to our rover arm installation team," said Ryan van Schilifgaarde, a support engineer at JPL for Mars 2020 assembly. "They made an extremely intricate operation look easy. We're looking forward to more of the same when the arm will receive its turret in the next few weeks."

The rover's turret will include high-definition cameras, science instruments, and a percussive drill and coring mechanism. Those tools will be used to analyze and collect samples of Martian rock and soil, which will be cached on the surface for return to Earth by a future mission. ...
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A Neil Armstrong for Mars: Landing the Mars 2020 Rover

Post by bystander » Sun Jul 07, 2019 4:47 pm

A Neil Armstrong for Mars: Landing the Mars 2020 Rover
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Mars 2020 | 2019 Jul 01
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Landing NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover with Terrain Relative Navigation
The Mars 2020 mission is facing the most challenging landing yet on the Red Planet. It
will touch down on Feb. 18, 2021, in Jezero Crater, a 28-mile-wide (45-kilometer-wide)
expanse full of steep cliffs, boulder fields and other things that could boobytrap the
landing. A new technology called Terrain Relative Navigation (TRN) will allow the
spacecraft to avoid hazards autonomously. It's the closest thing to having an
astronaut piloting the spacecraft, and the technology will benefit future robotic
and human exploration of Mars. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The view of the Sea of Tranquility rising up to meet Neil Armstrong during the first astronaut landing on the Moon was not what Apollo 11 mission planners had intended. They had hoped to send the lunar module Eagle toward a relatively flat landing zone with few craters, rocks and boulders. Instead, peering through his small, triangular commander's window, Armstrong saw a boulder field -- very unfriendly for a lunar module. So the Apollo 11 commander took control of the descent from the onboard computer, piloting Eagle well beyond the boulder field to a landing site that will forever be known as Tranquility Base. ...

Chen and his Mars 2020 colleagues have experience landing spacecraft on the Red Planet without the help of a steely-eyed astronaut at the stick. But Mars 2020 is headed toward NASA's biggest Martian challenge yet. Jezero Crater is a 28-mile-wide (45-kilometer-wide) indentation full of steep cliffsides, sand dunes, boulders fields and small impact craters. The team knew that to attempt a landing at Jezero ---and with a rover carrying 50% more payload than the Curiosity rover, which landed at a more benign location near Mount Sharp -- they would have to up their game.

"What we needed was a Neil Armstrong for Mars," said Chen. "What we came up with was Terrain-Relative Navigation."

Carried aboard Mars 2020, Terrain-Relative Navigation (TRN) is an autopilot that during landing can quickly figure out the spacecraft's location over -- and more importantly, calculate its future location on -- the Martian surface. Onboard, the rover's computer stores a map of hazards within Jezero Crater, and if the computed landing point is deemed too dangerous, TRN will command Mars 2020's descent stage to fly the rover to the safest reachable landing point. ...
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Mars 2020 Gets a Super Instrument

Post by bystander » Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:00 pm

Mars 2020 Gets a Super Instrument
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Mars 2020 | 2019 Jul 02
Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, have installed the SuperCam Mast Unit onto the Mars 2020 rover. The instrument's camera, laser and spectrometers can identify the chemical and mineral makeup of targets as small as a pencil point from a distance of more than 20 feet (6 meters).

SuperCam is a next-generation version of the ChemCam instrument operating on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover. It has been developed jointly in the U.S., France and Spain. Once France delivered the last piece of flight hardware, the instrument was fully integrated on the Mars 2020 rover on June 25, 2019, in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility's High Bay 1 clean room at JPL. ...

Mars 2020 scientists will use SuperCam to examine Martian rocks and soil, seeking organic compounds that could be related to past life on Mars.

"SuperCam's rock-zapping laser allows scientists to analyze the chemical composition of its targets," said Soren Madsen, the payload development manager at JPL. "It lets the Mars 2020 rover conduct its cutting-edge science from a distance."

Also to be installed in the next few weeks is Mars 2020's Sample Caching System, which includes 17 separate motors and will collect samples of Martian rock and soil that will be left on the surface of Mars for return to Earth by a future mission. ...
Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk.
— Garrison Keillor