This is a long road, but NASA’s perseverance rover is ready to travel to Mars. The agency this week packed the robot in its fairing and connected it to the Atlas V rocket. Now, all we need is some favorable weather, and the latest Mars probe will sail towards the Red Planet.
On July 7, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) transported the rover to the vertically integrated facility of the 41st Space Launch Complex. Engineers raised the payload to the top of the 129-foot (39-meter) Atlas V rocket, physically secured it and connected the electronic connection. Your connection will remain until about an hour after launch, until the second phase releases perseverance on the way to Mars.
NASA has been designing and building the “Perseverance” program over the past few years, which is based on the extremely successful “Curious” rover. However, the engineering team learned some important lessons from NASA’s last Mars rover. For example, Curiosity’s wheels have been greatly damaged from unexpectedly pointed Martian rocks. Therefore, Perseverance wheels have a stronger aluminum surface and elastic titanium spokes.
The coronavirus pandemic slowed the progress of perseverance, and some people worried that NASA might miss the launch window. Earth and Mars approach each other every few years (Earth), so the delay may delay the mission until 2022. NASA was able to postpone the launch window from the original August 11 deadline to August 15. This should provide sufficient time for the final test and sufficient time to place the rocket on the launch board.
Although the official launch date has not yet been determined, NASA has selected a landing date: February 18, 2021. Adherence to specific landing dates helps mission managers plan for specific conditions such as ground lighting and satellite positions. Perseverance will fall on the Jezero crater, which was chosen because it is likely to be a lake in the distant past of the earth. The Jezero Crater has ancient clay layers, river deltas, and even volcanic debris. This is the ideal place for perseverances to study planetary geological history while looking for signs of life.
Perseverance will also carry a Mars helicopter drone-NASA hopes that the robot can expand the range and save perseverance. However, this is only a technical demonstration. The rover also has a sample storage system that will pack the materials for possible collection and return to earth in future missions.