Two of a Space Kind: Apollo 12 and Mars 2020 (Study)


years in the past at present, throughout their second moonwalk, Charles “Pete” Conrad

Jr. and Alan Bean grew to become the primary people to succeed in out and contact a spacecraft

that had beforehand landed on one other celestial physique. NASA’s 1969 Apollo 12 Moon

mission and the upcoming Mars 2020 mission to the Purple Planet could also be separated

by half a century and targets which might be 100 million miles aside, however they share

a number of mission targets distinctive within the annals of house exploration.


on the Mars 2020 venture really feel a particular kinship with the crew of Apollo 12,”

stated John McNamee, Mars 2020 venture supervisor at NASA’s Jet Propulsion

Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “They achieved the primary precision

touchdown, deployed probably the most superior suite of science devices of the time, and

have been the primary to work together with one other spacecraft that put down on one other

world. That is all a part of the Mars 2020 playbook as effectively.”


wanted Apollo 12 to show a precision touchdown was doable as a result of future

Apollo missions would goal places within the lunar highlands, the place mountains,

huge craters, boulder fields and rilles may break their day if the lunar

modules strayed from their prescribed touchdown path. And whereas the earlier

mission, Apollo 11, was a monumental success, it overshot its meant touchdown

website within the Sea of Tranquility by about four miles (6 kilometers).


show a precision touchdown, Apollo 12 mission planners may have chosen

nearly anyplace on the nearside of the Moon by concentrating on any of actually

thousands and thousands of identified geologic options. Ultimately, they selected for Pete and Al a comparatively

nondescript crater within the Ocean of Storms as a result of JPL had plunked down a

spacecraft there two-and-a-half years earlier.


Pete and Al put the lunar module Intrepid down inside about 520 ft [160

meters] of Surveyor 3, it gave NASA the boldness to later ship Apollo 15 to

Hadley Rille, Apollo 16 to go to the Descartes Highlands and Apollo 17 to land

at Taurus Littrow,” stated McNamee. “We additionally need to be exact with

our touchdown on Mars – not solely to pave the best way for future precision landings on

the Purple Planet for each robotic and human-crewed missions, but in addition as a result of Mars

2020’s scientifically interesting touchdown website at Jezero Crater has all types of cliffsides, sand dunes,

boulders and craters that may adversely have an effect on us throughout touchdown.”


2020 shall be historical past’s first planetary mission to incorporate terrain relative navigation, a computerized autopilot

that makes use of optical imagers and computer systems to assist Mars 2020 keep away from touchdown

hazards and take advantage of correct touchdown on a planetary physique in historical past.


Suite Science


are different similarities. Throughout their first moonwalk, Conrad and Bean deployed

the Apollo Lunar Floor Experiments package deal (ALSEP). Powered by a radioisotope

thermoelectric generator, the 5 science devices (seismometer,

atmospheric sensor, photo voltaic wind spectrometer, lunar mud collector and magnetic

subject sensor) have been probably the most superior ever to be carried to a different celestial

physique, they usually despatched again groundbreaking knowledge on the lunar atmosphere from

November 1969 to September 1977. When Mars 2020 alights at Jezero Crater, it additionally

shall be geared up with probably the most superior science devices ever to journey to a different



science devices we feature profit not solely from advances in know-how, however

the laborious classes discovered by these missions of exploration, together with Apollo, that

preceded us,” stated Ken Farley, venture scientist for Mars 2020 from

Caltech in Pasadena. “Our seven state-of-the-art

science instruments will assist us purchase probably the most info doable about Martian

geology, ambiance, environmental circumstances, and potential biosignatures,

giving us perception into the Purple Planet like by no means earlier than.”


to Sender


their second moonwalk, Conrad and Bean reached the Surveyor Three lander – one of many robotic

missions that explored the Moon prematurely of astronauts. They not solely

collected pictures and samples of the lunar floor surrounding the spacecraft, however

minimize, sawed and hacked components off the three-legged spacecraft, together with Surveyor’s

TV digital camera and its surface-soil sampling scoop.


needed to see what occurred to supplies that have been uncovered to the lunar

atmosphere for an prolonged interval,” stated McNamee. “To this present day, the

samples of Surveyor 3, which endured 31 months on the Ocean of Storms, are our

greatest and solely demonstrations of the pure processes that may have an effect on

spacecraft elements left on the Moon.”


of Mars 2020’s main mission targets is to hunt

indicators of previous microscopic life, accumulating probably the most compelling rock core and

Martian mud samples. Subsequent missions, at present into account

by NASA, would ship spacecraft to Mars to gather these samples from the

floor and return them to Earth for in-depth evaluation. To assist engineers design spacesuits to protect astronauts

from the weather, NASA is sending 5 samples of spacesuit materials alongside

with certainly one of Mars 2020’s science devices, known as Scanning Habitable Environments with

Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals (SHERLOC)

A bit of an astronaut’s helmet and 4 sorts of cloth are mounted on the calibration goal for

this instrument. Scientists will use SHERLOC, in addition to a digital camera that

images seen mild, to review how the supplies degrade in ultraviolet

radiation. It should mark the primary time spacesuit materials has been despatched to Mars

for testing and can present a significant comparability for ongoing testing at NASA’s

Johnson Area Heart.


First, Astronauts Later


as NASA’s Surveyor missions helped blaze a path for Neil and Buzz on Apollo 11,

Pete and Al on 12, in addition to Al and Ed (Apollo 14), Dave and Jim (Apollo 15), John and Charlie (Apollo 16), and Gene and Harrison (Apollo 17), Mars 2020 helps set

the tone for future crewed missions to Mars.


2020’s touchdown system features a suite of sensors that can doc the descent

to the floor in never-seen-before element in order that future robotic and crewed

missions issue these particulars into their landings. When on the floor, the

rover’s MOXIE instrument is designed to show that

changing Martian carbon dioxide to pure oxygen is feasible, and RIMFAX may train us the way to use ground-penetrating

radar in order that future missions can use it to seek out sources of recent water.


Newton as soon as wrote, ‘If I’ve seen

additional it’s by standing on the shoulders of Giants,’” stated McNamee. “When

Mars 2020 flies, it’s going to permit us to see farther into the geologic historical past of

the Purple Planet than ever earlier than – and that’s occurring as a result of we too are standing

on the shoulders of giants – giants just like the crew of Apollo 12.”

The launch

interval for Mars 2020 opens on July 17, 2020. It should land at Mars’ Jezero

Crater on Feb. 18, 2021.

For extra details about the mission, go to:

Information Media Contact

DC Agle

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.


[email protected]

Alana Johnson

NASA Headquarters, Washington


[email protected]


Visit the USSA News store!
Click this link for the original source of this article.
Author: inticweb

This content is courtesy of, and owned and copyrighted by, and its author. This content is made available by use of the public RSS feed offered by the host site and is used for educational purposes only. If you are the author or represent the host site and would like this content removed now and in the future, please contact using the email address in the Contact page found in the website menu. The owner of this website may be paid to recommend American Bullion. The content of this website, including the positive review of American Bullion, the negative review of its competitors, and any other information may not be independent or neutral.