NASA: Perseverance (Mars 2020) - Next Generation Rover

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Perseverance Getting in Shape for Launch

Post by bystander » Fri May 08, 2020 3:07 pm

Perseverance Getting in Shape for Launch
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Perseverance | 2020 May 07
Stacking spacecraft components on top of each other is one of the final assembly steps before a mission launches to the Red Planet.

Engineers working on NASA's Perseverance rover mission at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida have begun the process of placing the Mars-bound rover and other spacecraft components into the configuration they'll be in as they ride on top of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The launch period for the mission opens on July 17 — just 70 days from now.

Called "vehicle stacking," the process began on April 23 with the integration of the rover and its rocket-powered descent stage. One of the first steps in the daylong operation was to lift the descent stage onto Perseverance so that engineers could connect the two with flight-separation bolts. ...

On April 29, the rover and descent stage were attached to the cone-shaped back shell, which contains the parachute and, along with the mission's heat shield, provides protection for the rover and descent stage during Martian atmospheric entry. ...
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Perseverance: Trials by Fire, Ice, Light and Sound

Post by bystander » Sat May 23, 2020 7:06 pm

Perseverance Goes Through Trials by Fire, Ice, Light and Sound
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Perseverance | 2020 May 18

The agency's new Mars rover is put through a series of tests in vacuum chambers, acoustic chambers and more to get ready for the Red Planet.

Click to play embedded YouTube video.
While auto manufacturers built over 92 million motor vehicles for this world in 2019, NASA built just one for Mars. The Perseverance Mars rover is one of a kind, and the testing required to get it ready to roll on the mean (and unpaved) streets of the Red Planet is one of a kind as well.

Because hardware cannot be repaired once the rover is on Mars, the team has to build a vehicle that can survive for years on a planet with punishing temperature shifts, constant radiation and ever-present dust. To ensure readiness, they put Perseverance through a test program tougher than the trip to Mars and the environment it will encounter once there.

"Mars is hard, and everybody knows that," said project manager John McNamee of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. "What they may not realize is that to be successful at Mars, you have to test the absolute heck out of the thing here on Earth." ...
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Air Deliveries Bring Perseverance Closer to Launch

Post by bystander » Sat May 23, 2020 7:15 pm

Air Deliveries Bring Perseverance Closer to Launch
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Perseverance | 2020 May 21

A NASA Wallops Flight Facility cargo plane transported more than two tons of equipment - including the rover's sample collection tubes - to Florida for this summer's liftoff.
Progress continues to speed along as NASA's Perseverance rover readies for its launch this summer. On May 11, the rover team at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida received the tubes tasked with holding the first samples collected at Mars for eventual return to Earth. A week later, the Atlas V launch vehicle that will hurl Perseverance to the Red Planet arrived at the launch site. Working together, personnel from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California and United Launch Alliance in Centennial, Colorado, were also able to extend the rover's launch period by six days, from Jul. 17-Aug. 5 to Jul. 17-Aug. 11.

The sample tubes will be filled with Martian rock and sediment and deposited on the planet for a future mission to return to Earth to be studied. They're part of the rover's Sample Caching System, the most complex and capable mechanism of its kind to be sent into space to address the question of potential life beyond Earth.

The tubes and their seals were among the nearly 5,000 pounds (2,270 kilograms) of mission flight hardware, test gear and equipment that traveled from JPL to NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, California. On May 10, the equipment was loaded onto a C-130 cargo plane from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The following day, the crew set out for Florida, touching down on Kennedy Space Center's Launch and Landing Facility a little before 3 p.m. local time. They were back at Wallops that evening.

A week later, on May 18, a giant Antonov cargo plane delivered the first stage of the mission's Atlas V launch vehicle, arriving at Kennedy Space Center just after 4 p.m. local time. The following day the booster was transported to the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Once final testing is complete, the Atlas will be moved to the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41, where preparations for the launch of Perseverance have begun following the successful Atlas V launch of the USSF-7 mission on May 17. Next, the Centaur upper stage and the payload fairing, which protects the spacecraft during launch, will be stacked on top of it. ...
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The Detective Aboard Perseverance

Post by bystander » Tue May 26, 2020 6:34 pm

The Detective Aboard NASA's Perseverance Rover
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Perseverance | 2020 May 26
Mars is a long way from 221B Baker Street, but one of fiction's best-known detectives will be represented on the Red Planet after NASA's Perseverance rover touches down on Feb. 18, 2021. SHERLOC, an instrument on the end of the rover's robotic arm, will hunt for sand-grain-sized clues in Martian rocks while working in tandem with WATSON, a camera that will take close-up pictures of rock textures. Together, they will study rock surfaces, mapping out the presence of certain minerals and organic molecules, which are the carbon-based building blocks of life on Earth.

SHERLOC was built at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, which leads the Perseverance mission; WATSON was built at Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego. For the most promising rocks, the Perseverance team will command the rover to take half-inch-wide core samples, store and seal them in metal tubes, and deposit them on the surface of Mars so that a future mission can return them to Earth for more detailed study.

SHERLOC will be working with six other instruments aboard Perseverance to give us a clearer understanding of Mars. It's even helping the effort to create spacesuits that will hold up in the Martian environment when humans set foot on the Red Planet. ...

SHERLOC's full name is a mouthful: Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals. "Raman" refers to Raman spectroscopy, a scientific technique named after the Indian physicist C.V. Raman, who discovered the light-scattering effect in the 1920s. ...
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Extraordinary Sample-Gathering System

Post by bystander » Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:08 pm

Extraordinary Sample-Gathering System
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Perseverance | 2020 Jun 02
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
The first samples from the Moon were collected by two astronauts. The first samples
collected for eventual return to Earth from Mars will take three robots aboard the
Perseverance rover working as one. Together, they make up the mission's Sample
Caching System detailed in this video. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The samples Apollo 11 brought back to Earth from the Moon were humanity's first from another celestial body. NASA's upcoming Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission will collect the first samples from another planet (the red one) for return to Earth by subsequent missions. In place of astronauts, the Perseverance rover will rely on the most complex, capable and cleanest mechanism ever to be sent into space, the Sample Caching System.

The final 39 of the 43 sample tubes at the heart of the sample system were loaded, along with the storage assembly that will hold them, aboard NASA's Perseverance rover on May 20 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (The other four tubes had already been loaded into different locations in the Sample Caching System.) The integration of the final tubes marks another key step in preparation for the opening of the rover's launch period on July 17. ...

While many people think of the Perseverance rover as one robot, it's actually akin to a collection of robots working together. Located on the front of the Perseverance rover, the Sample Caching System itself is composed of three robots, the most visible being the rover's 7-foot-long (2-meter-long) robotic arm. Bolted to the front of the rover's chassis, the five-jointed arm carries a large turret that includes a rotary percussive drill to collect core samples of Mars rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).

The second robot looks like a small flying saucer built into the front of the rover. Called the bit carousel, this appliance is the ultimate middleman for all Mars sample transactions: It will provide drill bits and empty sample tubes to the drill and will later move the sample-filled tubes into the rover chassis for assessment and processing.

The third robot in the Sample Caching System is the 1.6-foot-long (0.5 meter-long) sample handling arm (known by the team as the "T. rex arm"). Located in the belly of the rover, it picks up where the bit carousel leaves off, moving sample tubes between storage and documentation stations as well as the bit carousel. ...
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The Launch Is Approaching for Perseverance

Post by bystander » Thu Jun 18, 2020 6:23 pm

The Launch Is Approaching for Perseveranc
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Perseverance | 2020 Jun 17

The Red Planet's surface has been visited by eight NASA spacecraft. The ninth will be the first that includes gathering Mars samples for future return to Earth

Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover – Countdown to Mars
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover is just over a month from its July 20 targeted launch date. The rover's astrobiology mission will seek signs of past microscopic life on Mars, explore the geology of the Jezero Crater landing site, and demonstrate key technologies to help prepare for future robotic and human exploration. And the rover will do all that while collecting the first samples of Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust) for return to Earth by a set of future missions.

"Fifty-one years ago today, NASA was deep into final preparations for the first Moon landing," said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine. "Today we stand at the threshold of another monumental moment in exploration: sample collection at Mars. As we celebrate the heroes of Apollo 11 today, future generations may well recognize the women and men of Perseverance — not only for what they will achieve 100 million miles from home, but for what they were able to accomplish on this world on the road to launch."

The Mars 2020 mission has been slated to liftoff this summer ever since the agency announced the project in December 2012. Owing to the relative positions of Earth and Mars to each other, launch opportunities come up only every 26 months. If Perseverance didn't head to Mars this summer, the project would have to wait until September 2022 to try again, seriously impacting the long-term objectives of NASA's Mars Exploration Program and increasing overall mission risk. ...
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How Mars Helicopter Will Reach the Red Planet's Surface

Post by bystander » Tue Jun 23, 2020 7:47 pm

How Mars Helicopter Will Reach the Red Planet's Surface
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Perseverance | Ingenuity | 2020 Jun 23

The small craft will seek to prove that powered, controlled flight is possible on another planet. But just getting it onto the surface of Mars will take a whole lot of ingenuity.

Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Testing the Mars Helicopter Delivery System on Perseverance
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin Space

NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter will travel with the Perseverance rover through 314 million miles (505 million kilometers) of interplanetary space to get to Mars. But for the team working on the first experimental flight test on another planet, engineering the final 5 inches (13 centimeters) of the journey has been among the most challenging of all. To safely navigate those 5 inches — the distance Ingenuity will travel from where it's stowed on the rover to the surface of Mars — they came up with the ingenious Mars Helicopter Delivery System. ...

Ingenuity's square fuselage (which houses computers, cameras, batteries and the like) is about the size of a softball (7.9 by 6.3 by 5.5 inches, or 20 by 16 by 14 centimeters). But if you look outside the box, you'll find plenty of other important stuff — including an antenna, solar panel, landing legs and two rotors measuring 4 feet (1.2 meters) across — that makes stowing and deploying the helicopter a challenge. The entire package tips the scales at about 4 pounds (2 kilograms). ...

Mission engineers considered every available parking space on the rover chassis for their unusual addition, including the robotic arm. They eventually landed on Perseverance's belly, which on a relatively flat stretch of Red Planet surface should offer about 26 inches (67 centimeters) of ground clearance. While that may seem like a lot of room (an Earthly SUV provides about a third of that), the delivery system reduces that distance by about 2 inches (6 centimeters). Ingenuity is about 19 inches (49 centimeters) tall. This is where the 5-inch journey comes in. ...
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Re: NASA: Perseverance (Mars 2020) - Next Generation Rover

Post by neufer » Wed Jun 24, 2020 12:42 am

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicopter wrote:
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Click to play embedded YouTube video.

<<The earliest references for vertical flight came from China. Since around 400 BC, Chinese children have played with bamboo flying toys (or Chinese top). This bamboo-copter is spun by rolling a stick attached to a rotor. The spinning creates lift, and the toy flies when released. Designs similar to the Chinese helicopter toy appeared in some Renaissance paintings and other works. In the 18th and early 19th centuries Western scientists developed flying machines based on the Chinese toy.

It was not until the early 1480s, when Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci created a design for a machine that could be described as an "aerial screw", that any recorded advancement was made towards vertical flight. His notes suggested that he built small flying models, but there were no indications for any provision to stop the rotor from making the craft rotate. As scientific knowledge increased and became more accepted, people continued to pursue the idea of vertical flight.

In July 1754, Russian Mikhail Lomonosov had developed a small coaxial modeled after the Chinese top but powered by a wound-up spring device and demonstrated it to the Russian Academy of Sciences. It was powered by a spring, and was suggested as a method to lift meteorological instruments. In 1783, Christian de Launoy, and his mechanic, Bienvenu, used a coaxial version of the Chinese top in a model consisting of contrarotating turkey flight feathers as rotor blades, and in 1784, demonstrated it to the French Academy of Sciences. Sir George Cayley, influenced by a childhood fascination with the Chinese flying top, developed a model of feathers, similar to that of Launoy and Bienvenu, but powered by rubber bands. By the end of the century, he had progressed to using sheets of tin for rotor blades and springs for power. His writings on his experiments and models would become influential on future aviation pioneers. Alphonse Pénaud would later develop coaxial rotor model helicopter toys in 1870, also powered by rubber bands. One of these toys, given as a gift by their father, would inspire the Wright brothers to pursue the dream of flight.

In 1861, the word "helicopter" was coined by Gustave de Ponton d'Amécourt, a French inventor who demonstrated a small steam-powered model. While celebrated as an innovative use of a new metal, aluminum, the model never lifted off the ground. D'Amecourt's linguistic contribution would survive to eventually describe the vertical flight he had envisioned. Steam power was popular with other inventors as well. In 1878 the Italian Enrico Forlanini's unmanned vehicle, also powered by a steam engine, rose to a height of 12 meters, where it hovered for some 20 seconds after a vertical take-off. Emmanuel Dieuaide's steam-powered design featured counter-rotating rotors powered through a hose from a boiler on the ground. In 1887 Parisian inventor, Gustave Trouvé, built and flew a tethered electric model helicopter.

In July 1901, the maiden flight of Hermann Ganswindt's helicopter took place in Berlin-Schöneberg; this was probably the first heavier-than-air motor-driven flight carrying humans. A movie covering the event was taken by Max Skladanowsky, but it remains lost.

In 1885, Thomas Edison was given US$1,000 (equivalent to $28,000 today) by James Gordon Bennett, Jr., to conduct experiments towards developing flight. Edison built a helicopter and used the paper for a stock ticker to create guncotton, with which he attempted to power an internal combustion engine. The helicopter was damaged by explosions and one of his workers was badly burned. Edison reported that it would take a motor with a ratio of three to four pounds per horsepower produced to be successful, based on his experiments. Ján Bahýľ, a Slovak inventor, adapted the internal combustion engine to power his helicopter model that reached a height of 0.5 meters in 1901. On 5 May 1905, his helicopter reached 4 meters in altitude and flew for over 1,500 meters. In 1908, Edison patented his own design for a helicopter powered by a gasoline engine with box kites attached to a mast by cables for a rotor, but it never flew.>>
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Perseverance (Mars 2020) - 7 Things to Know

Post by bystander » Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:45 pm

7 Things to Know About Perseverance
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Perseverance | 2020 Jul 08
NASA's next rover to the Red Planet is slated to launch no earlier than July 30. These highlights will get you up to speed on the ambitious mission.

In less than a month, NASA expects to launch the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Loaded with scientific instruments, advanced computational capabilities for landing, and other new systems, the Perseverance rover is the largest, heaviest, most sophisticated vehicle NASA has ever sent to the Red Planet.

"Perseverance sets a new bar for our ambitions at Mars," said Lori Glaze, planetary science director at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "We will get closer than ever before to answering some of science's longest-standing questions about the Red Planet, including whether life ever arose there."

What drives Perseverance's mission and what will it do at the Red Planet? Here are seven things to know:
  1. The Perseverance rover draws on the NASA – and scientific – spirit of overcoming challenges. ...
  2. Perseverance builds on the lessons of other Mars rovers. ...
  3. The rover will be landing in a place with high potential for finding signs of past microbial life. ...
  4. Perseverance will also be collecting important data about Mars' geology and climate. ...
  5. Perseverance is the first leg of a round trip to Mars. ...
  6. Perseverance carries instruments and technology that will pave the way for human missions to the Moon and Mars. ...
  7. You will get to ride along. ...
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Perseverance Attached to Atlas V Rocket

Post by bystander » Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:58 pm

Perseverance Attached to Atlas V Rocket
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Perseverance | 2020 Jul 09

Ready for its launch later in the month, the Mars-bound rover will touch terra firma no more.

NASA's Perseverance Mars rover has been attached to the top of the rocket that will send it toward the Red Planet this summer. Encased in the nose cone that will protect it during launch, the rover and the rest of the Mars 2020 spacecraft – the aeroshell, cruise stage, and descent stage – were affixed to a United Launch Alliance Atlas V booster on Tuesday, July 7, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Central Florida.

The process began when a 60-ton hoist on the roof of the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41 lifted the nose cone, otherwise known as the payload fairing, 129 feet (39 meters) to the top of the waiting rocket. There, engineers made the physical and electrical connections that will remain between booster and spacecraft until about 50 to 60 minutes after launch, when the two are pyrotechnically separated and Perseverance is on its way. ...

With the mating of spacecraft and booster complete, the final testing of the two (separately and as one unit) will be underway. Then two days before the July 30 launch, the Atlas V will leave the Vertical Integration Facility for good. Traveling by rail, it will cover the 1,800 feet (550 meters) to the launch pad in about 40 minutes. From there, Perseverance has about seven months and 290 million miles (467 million kilometers) to go before arriving at Mars.

NASA and United Launch Alliance recently updated the mission's launch period – the range of days the rocket can launch in order to reach Mars. It now spans from July 30 to Aug. 15. ...
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6 Things to Know About NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

Post by bystander » Tue Jul 14, 2020 6:31 pm

6 Things to Know About NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Perseverance | Ingenuity | 2020 Jul 14

The first helicopter attempting to fly on another planet is a marvel of engineering. Get up to speed with these key facts about its plans.

When NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida later this summer, an innovative experiment will ride along: the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. Ingenuity may weigh only about 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms), but it has some outsize ambitions.

"The Wright Brothers showed that powered flight in Earth's atmosphere was possible, using an experimental aircraft," said Håvard Grip, Ingenuity’s chief pilot at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. "With Ingenuity, we're trying to do the same for Mars."

Here are six things you should know about the first helicopter going to another planet:
  1. Ingenuity is a flight test. ...
  2. Ingenuity will be the first aircraft to attempt controlled flight on another planet. ...
  3. Ingenuity is a fitting name for a robot that is the result of extreme creativity. ...
  4. Ingenuity has already demonstrated feats of engineering. ...
  5. The Ingenuity team will count success one step at a time. ...
  6. If Ingenuity succeeds, future Mars exploration could include an ambitious aerial dimension. ...
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Perseverance Microphones Fulfill Long Campaign to Hear Sounds from Mars

Post by bystander » Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:46 pm

Perseverance Microphones Fulfill Long Campaign to Hear Sounds from Mars
Planetary Society | 2020 Jul 22
If you could stand on the surface of Mars, what would you hear? While 8 missions have returned stunning views from the surface of the Red Planet, none have returned any sound.

That’s about to change. NASA’s Perseverance rover, which is days away from blasting off on a mission to search for signs of past life and collect samples for future return to Earth, will have not one, but two microphones aboard. One will listen as the rover plummets through the Martian atmosphere for landing, and another will record sounds as the rover does its scientific work in Jezero Crater—an ancient river delta where life may have flourished.

If all goes well, Perseverance’s microphones will fulfill the wishes of Planetary Society co-founder Carl Sagan, who wrote a letter to NASA in 1996 urging the space agency to send a microphone to Mars. ...

At least 3 Mars missions prior to Perseverance have had microphones as part of their design. The first, which flew to Mars in 1999 aboard NASA’s Mars Polar Lander, was sponsored by The Planetary Society, and became the first crowdfunded science instrument to fly to another planet. The Polar Lander crashed on the surface, but more attempts would follow. However, so far, none have succeeded. ...

Of Perseverance’s two microphones, one is part of the Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) system responsible for safely bringing the rover through Mars’ atmosphere to the surface. The audio from that microphone will be paired with full-color video taken by EDL cameras. This will allow viewers to experience what landing on Mars looks and sounds like for the very first time.

The second microphone is included in the rover’s SuperCam science instrument, a next-generation version of the Curiosity rover's laser-zapping ChemCam. Like its predecessor, SuperCam uses an infrared laser beam to heat and vaporize rocks and the Martian soil. A special camera can then determine the chemical makeup of the vaporized materials, and detect the presence of any organic compounds—a wide variety of carbon-based compounds that make up the proteins for life as we know it. ...
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Perseverance Passes Flight Readiness Review

Post by bystander » Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:01 pm

Perseverance Passes Flight Readiness Review
NASA | JPL-Caltech | Perseverance | 2020 Jul 22
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
In February 2020, NASA’s Perseverance Rover began its long journey to Mars by first
traveling across the United States. The rover was built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in Southern California and then carefully packed and flown to NASA’s
Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. There, engineers integrated the
rover with the spacecraft that carries it to Mars, and the Atlas V rocket chosen to
send it on its way. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission cleared its Flight Readiness Review Wednesday, an important milestone on its way to the launch pad. The meeting was an opportunity for the Mars 2020 team and launch vehicle provider United Launch Alliance to report on the readiness of the spacecraft, along with the Atlas V rocket, flight and ground hardware, software, personnel, and procedures. The daily launch window on Thursday, July 30, opens at 7:50 a.m. EDT. ...

With all the connections between the spacecraft and Atlas V launch vehicle complete, the majority of business remaining for Mars 2020's Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations (ATLO) team involves checking out every one of the multitude of systems and subsystems onboard the rover, aeroshell, cruise stage, and descent stage. ...

The spacecraft and launch teams have one more major review to complete. Scheduled Monday, July 27, the Launch Readiness Review is the last significant checkup before the mission receives final approval to proceed with launch. ...
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DLR: Launch of Mars 2020 Scheduled for 30 July

Post by bystander » Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:34 pm

Mars 2020 will search for traces of past
mi­cro­bial life with the Per­se­ver­ance rover

German Aerospace Center (DLR) | 2020 Jul 24
With Perseverance, its most complex Mars rover to date, NASA is opening a new chapter in the search for traces of ancient life on Mars. The launch of the new rover is scheduled to take place on 30 July 2020 at 13:50 CEST on board an Atlas V launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Then, on 18 February 2021 it will land in Mars’ Jezero crater. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is represented on the Mars 2020 mission science team and is involved in evaluating the data and images. The aim of the mission is to use analyse rock and sediment samples to determine more precisely when Mars may have had ideal conditions for microorganisms to thrive.

When the Perseverance rover lands on Mars in 2021, it will be carrying containers for sample collection. These containers will be filled with drill cores from depths of up to a few centimetres and left on Mars for later return to Earth. The samples will then be transported to Earth by several follow-up missions scheduled to begin in the early 2030s. The rover, which is the size of a small car and has a mass of 1025 kilograms, carries a total of seven scientific instruments, with which it will analyse the geology of the landing site, search for signs of past microbial life in rocks and sediments, and find the most promising samples for subsequent analysis on Earth. To this end, the Mars 2020 mission is carrying another first: a small, 1.8-kilogram helicopter for initial test flights over the landing site in the thin Martian atmosphere. ...

Perseverance will land in Jezero Crater, located on the western edge of Isidis Planitia, a giant impact basin just north of the Martian equator at approximately 18 degrees latitude, 77 degrees longitude. Some of the oldest and scientifically most interesting landscapes that Mars has to offer are found west of Isidis. High-resolution digital terrain models derived from data obtained by DLR’s High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft have made a significant contribution to the selection and exploration of the landing site. From them, valuable geological data can be calculated, such as the volume of the crater and the delta, as well as the width, depth and gradient of the river, but also the terrain slope within the landing ellipse -- one of the most important factors in the selection of the landing site.

It is very likely that the 45-kilometre-wide Jezero Crater was home to a lake more than 3.5 billion years ago. The ancient river delta in the western part of the crater, which contains hydrous minerals such as clay, provides clear evidence. This is also where the crater gets its name: ‘Jezero’ means ‘lake’ in several Slavic languages. Scientists believe it is possible that the rivers that flowed into and out of Jezero carried organic molecules, other potential signs of microbial life, or perhaps even microorganisms themselves. Traces of this possible past microbial life could have been preserved in the deposits of the river delta or the lake sediments of Jezero crater and could be found there today. Today, the liquid water on the surface of Mars has disappeared and its atmosphere has thinned to less than one percent of Earth’s atmospheric pressure. ...
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Re: NASA: Perseverance (Mars 2020) - Next Generation Rover

Post by BDanielMayfield » Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:16 pm

Local, for eastern Idaho, coverage of Perseverance, highlighting role of Idaho National Laboratory (INL):
INL team tracking Perseverance Mars

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK)-An Idaho National Laboratory team is keeping a close eye on the progress of the Perseverance Mars rover scheduled to launch at 5:50 a.m. Thursday.

INL Space Nuclear Power and Isotope Technologies Division Director Steve Johnson traveled to Cape Canaveral, Florida for the launch.

INL’s part in the mission was creation of the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) that will power the craft. The mission is aimed at finding signs of life and to collect rock and soil samples for potential return to Earth in a future mission.

NASA said the mission is also testing a method for producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, identifying other resources, like subsurface water, improving landing techniques and characterizing weather, dust, and other environmental conditions that could affect future astronauts living and working on Mars.

The rover is expected to land on Mars in February 2021.

Perseverance is the latest of several space missions INL has participated in. They include the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover launched in 2011 and Pluto New Horizons launched in 2006. INL will also work on the Dragonfly rotorcraft lander mission to Saturn’s moon Titan, which is scheduled to launch in 2026.
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