Home TOP STORIES The Perseverance rover is on its solution to Mars. What's subsequent?

The Perseverance rover is on its solution to Mars. What’s subsequent?

“The mission has 314 million miles of interplanetary space and seven minutes of terror to get safely onto the surface of Mars,” mentioned Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s planetary science division, in a press release. “When we see the landscape at Jezero Crater for the first time and we truly begin to realize the scientific bounty before us, the fun really begins.”

Perseverance and the Ingenuity helicopter are safely tucked inside a protecting aeroshell capsule. The descent stage that may assist land the rover can also be situated on this aeroshell, which is connected to the cruise stage, or the mission’s spacecraft.

The cruise stage is formed like a disk and photo voltaic powered. It will journey greater than 300 million miles to achieve Mars.

While it is cruising to Mars, engineers on Earth will inform the spacecraft when to execute correction maneuvers to maintain it on the appropriate path to Mars, in addition to its touchdown goal. The floor staff can even carry out checks on the devices and subsystems within the spacecraft.

About 45 days earlier than touchdown on Mars, the spacecraft will enter the strategy section, with extra correction maneuvers to its trajectory.

During what’s hopefully a quiet journey to Mars, Perseverance’s groups can be getting ready and coaching for when the rover lands on Mars. The science staff will put together the directions it desires to ship to the rover because it makes use of its devices on Mars.

The rover’s drivers can even work with a mannequin of the rover on Earth to organize for Perseverance’s journey throughout the Martian floor.

This consists of utilizing a twin of Perseverance on Earth to check {hardware}, drive it by means of the Mars Yard at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and ensure the auto-navigation algorithms work, mentioned Heather Justice, robotic operation downlink lead and one of many rover drivers at JPL.

‘Seven minutes of terror’

The one-way gentle time it takes for radio indicators to journey from Earth to Mars is about 10.5 minutes, which implies the seven minutes it takes for the spacecraft to land on Mars will happen with none assist or intervention from NASA groups on Earth.

NASA staff members seek advice from this because the “seven minutes of terror.” They inform the spacecraft when to start EDL, (entry, descent and touchdown), and the spacecraft takes over from there.

The spacecraft hits the highest of the Martian ambiance shifting at 12,000 miles per hour and has to decelerate to zero miles per hour seven minutes later when the rover softly lands on the floor.

Perseverance will do things no rover has ever attempted on Mars — and pave the way for humans

About 10 minutes earlier than getting into the skinny Martian ambiance, the cruise stage is shed and the spacecraft prepares for a guided entry, the place small thrusters on the aeroshell assist alter its angle.

The spacecraft’s warmth defend will endure peak heating of two,370 levels Fahrenheit 75 seconds after getting into the ambiance.

Perseverance is concentrating on a 28-mile-wide historical lake mattress and river delta, probably the most difficult web site but for a NASA spacecraft touchdown on Mars. Rather than being flat and easy, the small touchdown web site is affected by sand dunes, steep cliffs, boulders and small craters.

The spacecraft has two upgrades — known as Range Trigger and Terrain-Relative Navigation — to navigate this tough and dangerous web site.

Range Trigger will inform the 70.5-foot-wide parachute when to deploy based mostly on the spacecraft’s place 240 seconds after getting into the ambiance. After the parachute deploys, the warmth defend will detach.

Mars rovers of the past paved the way for NASA's newest explorer Perseverance

Terrain-Relative Navigation acts like a second mind for the rover, utilizing cameras to take photos of the bottom because it quickly approaches and determines the most secure spot to land. It can shift the touchdown spot by as much as 2,000 toes, in line with NASA.

The again shell and parachute separate after the warmth defend is discarded when the spacecraft is 1.three miles above the Martian floor. The Mars touchdown engines, which embrace eight retrorockets, will fireplace to gradual the descent from 190 miles per hour to about 1.7 miles per hour.

The sky crane landing system will safely deposit the rover on Mars during the last stage of descent and landing.

Then, the famed sky crane maneuver that landed the Curiosity rover will happen. Nylon cords will decrease the rover 25 toes beneath the descent stage. After the rover touches down on the Martian floor, the cords will detach and the descent stage will fly away and land at a protected distance.

On the floor of Mars

Once the rover has landed, Perseverance’s two-year mission will start and it’ll undergo a “checkout” interval to ensure it is prepared.

The rover will deploy its mast and antenna, picture its touchdown sight, conduct a “health check” for its devices, check motion and “flex” its arm and conduct a brief check drive. Perseverance can even launch its stomach pan, which offered a protected haven for the Ingenuity helicopter stowed there throughout cruising and touchdown.

Ingenuity will be the first helicopter to fly on Mars

The rover can even discover a good, flat floor to drop the Ingenuity helicopter so it has a spot to make use of as a helipad for its potential 5 check flights throughout a 30-day interval. This will happen throughout the first 50 to 90 sols, or Martian days, of the mission.

Once Ingenuity is settled on the floor, Perseverance will drive to a protected spot at a distance and use its cameras to observe Ingenuity’s flight.

After these flights, Perseverance will start looking for proof of historical life, research Mars’ local weather and geology and gather samples that may ultimately be returned to Earth by way of deliberate future missions.

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