7 Things to Know About the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Mission (Study)




NASA’s subsequent rover to the Pink Planet is slated to launch no sooner than July 30. These highlights will get you in control on the bold mission.


In lower than a month, NASA

expects to launch the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission from Cape Canaveral,

Florida. Loaded with scientific devices, superior

computational capabilities for touchdown, and different new programs, the

Perseverance rover is the most important, heaviest, most refined automobile NASA

has ever despatched to the Pink Planet.

“Perseverance units a brand new bar for our

ambitions at Mars,” stated Lori Glaze, planetary science director at NASA

Headquarters in Washington. “We’ll get nearer than ever earlier than to answering

a few of science’s longest-standing questions concerning the Pink Planet, together with

whether or not life ever arose there.”

What drives Perseverance’s mission and what’s going to

it do on the Pink Planet? Listed here are seven issues to know:

1. The Perseverance rover attracts on the NASA –

and scientific – spirit of overcoming challenges.

The rover has a troublesome mission. Not solely does it

should land on a

treacherous planet, it has to work on its science objectives: trying to find indicators of

historical microbial life, characterizing the planet’s geology and local weather,

amassing fastidiously chosen rock and sediment samples for future return to

Earth, and paving the best way for human exploration past the Moon.

These actions epitomize why NASA selected the

title Perseverance from among the many 28,000 essays submitted throughout the “Title the

Rover” contest. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the months main up

to the launch specifically have required creative

problem solving
, teamwork, and

willpower.

“Constructing this

extremely refined rover has been the toughest factor I’ve ever been an element

of as an engineer,” stated Ray Baker, the mission’s flight system supervisor at

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “Whereas

coronavirus added vital challenges and logistics, the group has proven

nice willpower and diligence to construct a rover we may be proud to ship to

Mars. We won’t wait to see the numerous years of dedication repay on the launch

pad.”

2. Perseverance builds on the teachings of different

Mars rovers.

NASA’s modest first rover – Sojourner – demonstrated

in 1997 {that a} robotic might rove on the Pink Planet. Spirit and Alternative, which

landed in 2004, discovered proof that the planet as soon as hosted operating water earlier than

turning into a frozen desert. Curiosity, which has been exploring Mars since 2012, found

that its touchdown website, Gale Crater, was dwelling to of a lake billions of years in the past,

with an atmosphere that

could have supported microbial life
.

Perseverance goals to take the following step,

looking for, as a main purpose, to reply one of many key questions of astrobiology: Are there any indicators that life as soon as existed on Mars?

3. The rover shall be touchdown in a spot with

excessive potential for locating indicators of previous microbial life.

Jezero

Crater
is 28 miles (45 kilometers) broad and sits on

the western fringe of Isidis Planitia, a large basin simply north of the Martian

equator dug out way back when an area rock hit the floor. Someday between 3

billion and Four billion years in the past at Jezero, a river flowed right into a physique of water

the dimensions of Lake Tahoe.

“The science group has had many discussions internally

and externally about the place the following Mars rover ought to go,” stated Ken Farley,

the mission’s challenge scientist, based mostly at Caltech in Pasadena. “We finally

selected Jezero Crater as a result of it’s such a promising location for locating natural

molecules and different potential indicators of microbial life.”

4. Perseverance may also be amassing

necessary knowledge about Mars’ geology and local weather.

Mars orbiters have been amassing photographs and different

knowledge from Jezero Crater from about 200 miles (322 kilometers) above, however

discovering indicators of historical life on the floor would require a lot nearer

inspection. It calls for a rover like Perseverance, which may search for indicators that

could also be associated to life and may analyze the context through which they had been discovered to see

in the event that they had been organic in origin.

Understanding Mars’ previous local weather circumstances and

studying the geological historical past embedded in its rocks may also give us a way

of why Earth and Mars – which fashioned from the identical primordial stuff – ended up

so completely different.

5. Perseverance is the primary leg of a spherical journey

to Mars.

Verifying historical microscopic life on Mars

carries an infinite burden of proof. Perseverance is the primary rover to carry a

sample-gathering system to Mars that may bundle promising examples of rocks

and sediments for return to Earth by a future mission.

A Mars

Sample Return campaign
is being deliberate by

NASA and the European Area Company as a result of right here on Earth we are able to examine the

samples with devices too massive and complicated to ship to Mars. Terrestrial

laboratories could be used to ascertain whether or not any potential indicators of life

detected by the rover are definitive proof of previous life.

6. Perseverance carries devices and

expertise that may pave the best way for human missions to the Moon and Mars.

The Terrain-Relative

Navigation
system, which autonomously helps the rover keep away from

hazards throughout touchdown, and the Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent, and

Touchdown Instrumentation 2 (MEDLI2) sensor suite, which gathers essential knowledge throughout the journey

by way of the Martian ambiance, will assist future

human missions
land extra safely and

with bigger payloads on different worlds.

Perseverance additionally has options that may assist

astronauts as soon as they’re on the floor of one other world: improved self-driving

smarts for extra environment friendly journey and the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) instrument suite, which is able to present key details about

climate, local weather, and mud. In the meantime, the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Useful resource

Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) expertise demonstration goals to provide oxygen from Mars’

carbon dioxide ambiance, demonstrating a manner future explorers may produce

oxygen for rocket propellant in addition to for respiration.

7. You’ll get to trip alongside.

The Perseverance rover and different elements of the

Mars 2020 spacecraft characteristic 23 cameras – extra cameras than any

interplanetary mission in historical past. They’re going to assist engineers put collectively a

high-definition view of the touchdown course of after the rover safely touches down

on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021, and so they’ll ship photographs of the panorama and

scientific specimens in breathtaking element. And as with earlier Mars

missions, this one plans to make uncooked and processed photographs accessible on the mission’s web site.

Perseverance additionally carries three silicon chips

with the names of practically 11

million people who signed up
to trip with the

mission.

You’ll be able to observe Perseverance’s journey on

social media @NASAPersevere and @NASAMars.

For extra highlights and

different particulars concerning the launch, take a look at the mission’s press equipment:

https://go.nasa.gov/perseverance-launch-press-kit

For extra on the mission,

go to:

https://mars.nasa.gov/perseverance/

For extra about NASA’s Moon to Mars plans, go to:

https://www.nasa.gov/matters/moon-to-mars

Information Media Contact

Jia-Rui Cook dinner
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-354-0724
[email protected]

Gray Hautaluoma / Alana Johnson

NASA Headquarters, Washington

202-358-0668 / 202-358-1501

[email protected] / [email protected]

2020-127

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