Terrain-Relative Navigation (TRN) technology from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) enables pin-point landing and large hazard avoidance for crewed and robotic lander vehicles. A camera captures images during vehicle descent, which are subsequently matched to orbital maps stored onboard the lander. Matching images to multiple known terrain features enables automated determination of the lander’s position relative to the terrain.
The small craft will seek to prove that powered, controlled flight is possible on another planet. But just getting it onto the surface of Mars will take a whole lot of ingenuity.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter will travel with the Perseverance rover through 314 million miles (505 million kilometers) of interplanetary space to get to Mars. But for the team working on the first experimental flight test on another planet, engineering the final 5 inches (13 centimeters) of the journey has been among the most challenging of all. To safely navigate those 5 inches — the distance Ingenuity will travel from where it’s stowed on the rover to the surface of Mars — they came up with the ingenious Mars Helicopter Delivery System.
The Red Planet’s surface has been visited by eight NASA spacecraft. The ninth will be the first that includes gathering Mars samples for future return to Earth.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover is just over a month from its July 20 targeted launch date. The rover’s astrobiology mission will seek signs of past microscopic life on Mars, explore the geology of the Jezero Crater landing site, and demonstrate key technologies to help prepare for future robotic and human exploration. And the rover will do all that while collecting the first samples of Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust) for return to Earth by a set of future missions.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA leadership and a panel of scientists and engineers will preview NASA’s next mission to the Red Planet, the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, at a media briefing at 2 p.m. EDT Wednesday, June 17. The live briefing will stream on Facebook, Ustream, YouTube, Twitter, NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Perseverance is a robotic scientist weighing just under 2,300 pounds (1,043 kilograms). The rover’s astrobiology mission will search for signs of past microbial life on Mars, characterize the planet’s climate and geology, collect rock and soil samples for future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet.
Briefing participants will be:
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington
Katie Stack Morgan, Perseverance deputy project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California
Matt Wallace, Perseverance deputy project manager at JPL
Luis Dominguez, Perseverance deputy electrical integration and test lead at JPL
Omar Baez, launch director in NASA’s Launch Services Program at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Media and the public also may ask questions on social media during the briefing using #AskNASA.
The mission is scheduled to launch from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 9:15 a.m. EDT (6:15 a.m. PDT) July 20. The launch is managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program. It will land at Mars’ Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (DoE PR) — The U.S. Department of Energy successfully delivered its latest nuclear power system to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida—the site of NASA’s Mars 2020 launch later this summer. The Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) was fueled, built and tested by DOE’s national laboratories to power the mission’s Perseverance rover.
PARIS (CNES PR) — Tuesday, June 9, fifteen heads of space agencies from around the world (European Space Agency (ESA), Germany, Australia, Canada, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, France, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, News – Zealand, Russia, United Kingdom) participated, at the invitation of NASA, in a virtual meeting to exchange their points of view on the progress of human and robotic exploration.
Because of COVID-19, this meeting could not be held, as every year, at the time of the Colorado Springs Space Symposium initially scheduled for the end of March.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its latest assessment of NASA’s major projects at the end of April. It found that NASA’s performance on its major projects continued to deteriorate on cost and schedule. (Full Report)
Below are key excerpts from the report that provide an overview of where NASA stands on its major projects. Although GAO did not analyze the Artemis program to return astronauts to the moon, the watchdog warned the Trump Administration’s decision to move the landing date up from 2028 to 2024 will put more pressure on the space agency.
“Looking ahead, NASA will continue to face significant cost and schedule risks as it undertakes complex efforts to return to the moon under an aggressive time frame,” the report stated.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — The samples Apollo 11 brought back to Earth from the Moon were humanity’s first from another celestial body. NASA’s upcoming Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission will collect the first samples from another planet (the red one) for return to Earth by subsequent missions. In place of astronauts, the Perseverance rover will rely on the most complex, capable and cleanest mechanism ever to be sent into space, the Sample Caching System.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Mars is a long way from 221B Baker Street, but one of fiction’s best-known detectives will be represented on the Red Planet after NASA’s Perseverance rover touches down on Feb. 18, 2021. SHERLOC, an instrument on the end of the rover’s robotic arm, will hunt for sand-grain-sized clues in Martian rocks while working in tandem with WATSON, a camera that will take close-up pictures of rock textures. Together, they will study rock surfaces, mapping out the presence of certain minerals and organic molecules, which are the carbon-based building blocks of life on Earth.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — While auto manufacturers built over 92 million motor vehicles for this world in 2019, NASA built just one for Mars. The Perseverance Mars rover is one of a kind, and the testing required to get it ready to roll on the mean (and unpaved) streets of the Red Planet is one of a kind as well.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., May 17, 2020 ULA PR) –A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 501 rocket carrying the USSF-7 mission for the U.S. Space Force lifted off on May 17, 9:14 a.m. EDT, from Space Launch Complex-41. This marks the 84th successful launch of an Atlas V rocket, 139th launch for ULA, the second launch for the U.S. Space Force and the sixth flight of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV-6).
CLEVELAND (NASA PR) — It’s rocky. It’s sandy. It’s flat. It’s cratered. It’s cold. The surface of Mars is a challenging and inhospitable place, especially for rovers. As future missions to Mars become more complex, NASA’s robotic wanderers will need new technologies to look deeper into the history of the Red Planet.
One of those technologies is an innovative new tire in development at NASA’s Glenn Research Center using innovative shape memory alloys (SMA).
The latest activities at the Florida spaceport included attaching the aeroshell backshell on April 29 and attaching the rover to its rocket-powered descent stage on April 23 inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility. The rover and descent stage were the first spacecraft components to come together for launch — and they will be the last to separate when the spacecraft reaches Mars on Feb. 18, 2021.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — When it launches this summer, NASA’s Perseverance rover will have the most advanced pair of “eyes” ever sent to the Red Planet’s surface: Its Mastcam-Z instrument packs a next-gen zoom capability that will help the mission make 3D imagery more easily. Rover operators, who carefully plan out each driving route and each movement of a rover’s robotic arm, view these stereo images through 3D goggles to see the contours of the landscape.
NORTHPORT, Ala. (NASA PR) — The first aircraft that will attempt powered flight on another world has a new name! Meet Ingenuity – NASA’s Mars Helicopter. And the inspiration for the name? We owe that credit to Vaneeza Rupani, an 11th grader from Northport, Alabama.
Vaneeza Rupani, a junior at Tuscaloosa County High School in Northport, Alabama, came up with the name and the motivation behind it during NASA’s “Name the Rover” essay contest.