Wed. Jan 27th, 2021
In photos: NASA's Mars Perseverance rover mission to the Red Planet

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(Picture credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Perseverance Mars will land inside Mars’ Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021, at 3:40 p.m. EST (7:30 p.m. GMT). The 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) Jezero Crater lies about 19 levels north of the Pink ’s equator. The rover will research the crater’s geology, hunt for subsurface water ice, and check out its scientific devices. 

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(Picture credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Mars touchdown websites

This map of Mars exhibits the placement of the Jezero Crater, in addition to the areas of the place NASA’s different profitable Mars missions landed. The Jezero Crater is believed to have contained a lake and a river delta within the historic previous. Thus, the rover will start its on Mars looking the realm for indicators of long-dead life. 

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(Picture credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/JHU-APL)

Jezero Crater

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) captured this view of the Jezero Crater, the touchdown web site for the Perseverance Mars rover. This Martian crater provides an optimum touchdown web site, because it has geologically wealthy terrain courting way back to 3.6 billion years previous. 

“On historic Mars, water carved channels and transported sediments to type followers and deltas inside lake basins,” NASA officials said in a statement. “Examination of spectral knowledge acquired from orbit present that a few of these sediments have minerals that point out chemical alteration by water. Right here in Jezero Crater delta, sediments include clays and carbonates.”

The rover goals to gather samples from the realm to be introduced again to Earth throughout a future mission. In flip, these samples might assist reply vital questions in planetary evolution and Mars’ potential to harbor life. 

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(Picture credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Perseverance’s science devices

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover is provided with seven science and exploration devices. This consists of two cameras — Mastcam-Z and SuperCam — situated on the head of the rover, giving the cameras a large area of view. The rover additionally has two extra imaging devices to review the composition and mineralogy of Martian floor supplies: the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL) and the Scanning Liveable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemical substances (SHERLOC). 

The Perseverance rover additionally has an instrument referred to as the Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE). Positioned on the entrance proper aspect of the rover, MOXIE will produce oxygen from Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide. Thus, this exploration expertise will assist decide the feasibility of future oxygen mills to assist human missions on Mars. 

As well as, the rover is outfitted with a set of 5 sensors — referred to as the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) — that may measure the climate and dirt within the atmosphere on Mars, in addition to a ground-penetrating radar, referred to as the Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment (RIMFAX), which is able to research geologic options underneath the Martian floor. 

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(Picture credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Detecting Martian rock chemistry

The Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL) is an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer and high-resolution imager that may decide the composition of Martian surface materials as small as a grain of sand. Positioned on the rover’s robotic arm, PIXL will use a targeted X-ray beam that causes the rocks to glow. In flip, the glow produced will differ based on the rock’s elemental chemistry. 

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(Picture credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Dynamic duo: SHERLOC and WATSON

The Scanning Liveable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemical substances (SHERLOC) will use an ultraviolet laser to determine mineralogy and detect natural compounds on the floor of the Pink Planet. Positioned on the top of the rover’s robotic arm, SHERLOC features an auto-focusing camera referred to as WATSON (Huge Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering).

Utilizing the photographs captured by WATSON, SHERLOC’s ultraviolet laser is ready to give attention to the middle of rock surfaces and detect microscopic minerals. This knowledge will assist the rover decide which rocks to drill and gather samples of to be returned to Earth with a future mission.

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(Picture credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Perseverance’s cameras

It is a close-up view of the pinnacle of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover distant sensing mast. The mast head contains two cameras, generally known as Mastcam-Z and SuperCam. The Mastcam-Z is a complicated digicam system with panoramic and stereoscopic imaging functionality and the flexibility to zoom. Along with imaging, the SuperCam will have the ability to detect the presence of natural compounds in rocks and regolith from a distance. 

The SuperCam instrument is the big lens on the entrance of the mast head, whereas the 2 Mastcam-Z imagers are housed within the grey containers beneath mast head. The rover additionally has two navigation cameras on the outside sides of the 2 Mastcam-Z imagers.

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(Picture credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Defending Perseverance

Constructed by Lockheed Martin, the Perseverance rover’s warmth defend and cone-shaped again shell will defend the spacecraft throughout its passage to the Pink Planet. Because the spacecraft descends via the Martian environment, it should expertise excessive quantities of friction. The heat shield will protect the spacecraft from the excessive temperatures created by this friction. 

As well as, the again shell incorporates a number of components important to touchdown the rover, together with the parachute and antennas for communication. On this picture, the again shell sits on a assist construction. A portion of the descent stage and rover will also be seen straight under the decrease fringe of the again shell.

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(Picture credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ames)

Parachute for Perseverance

Perseverance is provided with a supersonic parachute that measures 70.5 ft (21.5 meters) in diameter. The rover’s parachute is crucial for guaranteeing the spacecraft lands safely on the Pink Planet. It’s just like the parachute efficiently flown by NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover in 2012, however designed to be slightly stronger, given Perseverance is heavier than Curiosity. 

On this picture from June 2017, the parachute was tested in a wind tunnel at NASA’s Ames Analysis Heart in California’s Silicon Valley. Throughout this check, engineers verified the parachute would maintain up underneath the pressure of slowing the fast-moving spacecraft down within the Martian environment. Subsequent checks of the parachute and its deployment mortar had been performed all through 2018 and 2019. On March 26, 2020, technicians finished installing the rover’s parachute system.

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(Picture credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The Mars helicopter

On April 6, the Mars Helicopter, also called Ingenuity, and its supply system had been hooked up to the stomach of NASA’s Perseverance rover at Kennedy Area Heart in Florida. 

The Mars Helicopter is a small robotic helicopter that’s designed to scout targets on Mars and assist plan the perfect driving route for Mars rovers. The helicopter will likely be deployed to the Martian floor about two-and-a-half months after Perseverance lands, and can check powered flight on one other world for the primary time. 

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(Picture credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Guaranteeing secure travels for Ingenuity

The Mars helicopter Ingenuity stands 19 inches (0.5 m) tall and weighs simply four lbs.kilos (1.Eight kg). It’s outfitted with two units of rotor blades that span some four ft (1.2 m) every. 

The small drone helicopter should safely detach from the Perseverance rover to begin its mission. A defend will cowl the helicopter and its supply system to guard it throughout touchdown. After the rover touches down on the Pink Planet, the defend will fall away and a latch will launch the helicopter from the belly of the rover, initiating a sequence of occasions to carry the helicopter right down to the Martian floor. Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Lockheed Martin Area examined the helicopters supply system. 

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(Picture credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Perseverance nameplate

A titanium nameplate was put in on the rover’s robotic arm. The titanium plate will assist defend energy and knowledge cables that stretch from the rover’s physique to actuators in its robotic arm and different devices. The plate will defend rock and particles from impacting the cables as Perseverance strikes across the Pink Planet.

Measuring 17 inches lengthy by 3.25 inches large (43 cm lengthy by 8.26 cm large), and weighing 104 grams (3.7 ounces), the name plate is product of titanium and coated with black thermal paint. The plate was lower utilizing a water jet and engraved with the rover’s identify utilizing a computer-guided laser.

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(Picture credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Tribute to healthcare staff

A commemorative plate was additionally put in on the left aspect of the rover chassis. The plate pays tribute to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the perseverance of healthcare staff around the globe. 

Measuring 3-by-5-inches (8-by-13-centimeters), the plate is product of aluminum and was hooked up to the rover in Could 2020 throughout ultimate meeting at Kennedy Area Heart in Florida.

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(Picture credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

First driving check

The Perseverance rover took its first test drive on Dec. 17, 2019, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Throughout the check, the rover efficiently rolled ahead and backward, and circled in a circle for the very first time. The short-distance drive check occurred in a clear room at JPL, the place the rover was constructed. NASA engineers examined the rover’s driving capabilities for greater than ten hours, based on the house company. 

The rover has six wheels which are designed for added sturdiness. Throughout the drive check, the rover conquered small inclines. The following drive the Mars 2020 will take will likely be on the rugged Martian floor.

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(Picture credit score: Christian Mangano/NASA)

Getting ready launch configuration

NASA engineers engaged on Perseverance started putting the rover and its elements into configuration for launch in April 2020. This course of began with the combination of the rover and its rocket-powered descent stage, according to a statement from NASA. 

On April 29, the rover and descent stage had been hooked up to the cone-shaped again shell, captured within the image above. The meeting occurred contained in the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Area Heart in Florida. The again shell incorporates the parachute and, together with the mission’s warmth defend, offers safety for the rover and descent stage because the spacecraft descends via the Martian environment. 

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(Picture credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/KSC)

Rover meeting

The rover’s disk-shaped cruise stage sits atop the cone-shaped again shell. The brass-colored warmth defend under is about to be attached to the back shell on this picture taken on Could 28, at Kennedy Area Heart in Florida. 

Throughout the rover’s descent to the Martian floor, the again shell and cruise stage will separate at about 6 miles (9 kilometers) above Mars’ Jezero Crater.

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(Picture credit score: NASA)

Arrival of Atlas V rocket

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover will fly on high of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket when it launches to the Pink Planet on July 30, 2020. The primary stage of the Atlas V rocket arrived at Kennedy Area Heart in Florida on Could 11, 2020. It travelled to the house heart on an Antonov cargo aircraft. 

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(Picture credit score: Kim Shiflett/NASA)

Transfer to launch pad

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V booster for NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover was moved to the Vertical Integration Facility at Launch Advanced 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Pressure Station in Florida on Could 28, 2020. The mission will launch from this location on July 30. 

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(Picture credit score: NASA)

Perseverance encapsulation

On June 18, 2020, the Perseverance Mars rover was ready for encapsulation within the United Launch Alliance Atlas V payload fairing, or nostril cone. 

The 2 halves of the cone are seen on either side of Perseverance. The spacecraft was encased previous to being positioned atop the Atlas V rocket. The nostril cone will defend the spacecraft throughout launch. 

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(Picture credit score: NASA/KSC)

Mated to its rocket

The payload fairing containing the Perseverance rover was raised atop the launch vehicle on July 7. This picture was taken contained in the Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral Air Pressure Station’s Area Launch Advanced 41 in Florida. 

“I’ve seen my justifiable share of spacecraft being lifted onto rockets,” John McNamee, challenge supervisor for the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement. “However this one is particular as a result of there are such a lot of individuals who contributed to this second. To every one in all them I wish to say, we bought right here collectively, and we’ll make it to Mars the identical manner.”

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