#astronomy NASA’s Mars 2020 rover passes first driving take a look at on highway to pink planet – Astronomy Now

December 23, 2019 - Comment

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover takes its first steps in a clear room on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, auto-navigating obstacles, delivering place and demonstrating its hazard-avoidance potential. Picture: NASA/JPL-Caltech With launch simply seven months away, NASA’s Mars 2020 rover handed its first driving take a look at on 17 December, demonstrating the six-wheel



NASA’s Mars 2020 rover takes its first steps in a clear room on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, auto-navigating obstacles, delivering place and demonstrating its hazard-avoidance potential. Picture: NASA/JPL-Caltech

With launch simply seven months away, NASA’s Mars 2020 rover handed its first driving take a look at on 17 December, demonstrating the six-wheel nuclear-powered spacecraft can auto-navigate round obstacles, climb over comparatively giant obstructions and manoeuvre as required.

“Mars 2020 has earned its driver’s license,” stated Wealthy Rieber, the lead mobility techniques engineer for the Mars 2020 challenge at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “The take a look at unambiguously proved that the rover can function underneath its personal weight and demonstrated lots of the autonomous-navigation features for the primary time. It is a main milestone for Mars 2020.”

The brand new rover is scheduled for launch atop an Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral Florida on 17 July. If all goes nicely, the spacecraft can be lowered from a rocket-powered “sky crane” to the ground of Jezero Crater on 18 February 2021. As soon as on the floor, Mars 2020 will seek for proof of previous microbial life, examine the planet’s local weather and geology and accumulate rock and soil samples for potential return to Earth on a future mission.

To perform its science objects, Mars 2020 is predicted to rove a mean of 200 metres (650 ft) per day. That’s just a bit lower than the present document for a single day’s journey, 214 metres (702 ft) set by the Alternative rover.

Comparable in look to NASA’s Curiosity rover, Mars 2020 options higher-resolution wide-field navigation cameras, an extra pc to course of photographs and construct maps, a extra refined auto-navigation system and redesigned, a lot powerful wheels higher ready to withstand harm from sharp rocks.

Throughout its driving take a look at at JPL, the rover spent greater than 10 hours steering, turning and driving ahead and backward in 1-metre (Three-foot) increments over small ramps. Scientists additionally examined a ground-penetrating radar instrument.

“A rover must rove, and Mars 2020 did that,” stated John McNamee, Mars 2020 challenge supervisor. “We are able to’t wait to place some pink Martian filth underneath its wheels.”



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