JPL’s Terrain-Relative Navigation Technology Set to Launch on Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover

NASA Press Release

The Technology

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.

(more…)

How NASA’s Mars Helicopter Will Reach the Red Planet’s Surface

In this video clip, an engineer observes as a test of the Mars Helicopter Delivery System at Lockheed Martin Space in Denver on April 2019. (Credits: Lockheed Martin Space)

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.

(more…)

The Launch Is Approaching for NASA’s Next Mars Rover, Perseverance

In a clean room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, engineers observed the first driving test for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover on Dec. 17, 2019. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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.

(more…)

NASA to Hold Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Launch Briefing

As seen in this artist’s concept, the SHERLOC instrument is located on the end of the robotic arm of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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 FacebookUstreamYouTubeTwitter, 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.

For more about Perseverance visit:

https://nasa.gov/perseverance

and

https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/

Nuclear Power System Delivered to Florida for NASA’s Perseverance Rover

Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (Credit: Department of Energy)

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

(more…)

Major Space Agency Heads Hold Virtual Meeting

Translated from French by Google Translate

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. 

(more…)

GAO: NASA Performance on Major Projects Continues to Deteriorate

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.

(more…)

The Extraordinary Sample-Gathering System of NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover

The first samples from the Moon were collected by two astronauts. The first samples collected for eventual return to Earth from Mars will take three robots aboard the Perseverance rover working as one. Together, they make up the mission’s Sample Caching System detailed in this video. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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.

(more…)

The Detective Aboard NASA’s Perseverance Rover

As seen in this artist’s concept, the SHERLOC instrument is located on the end of the robotic arm of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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.

(more…)

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Goes Through Trials by Fire, Ice, Light and Sound

This animated GIF shows a successful test of the parachute that will be used to land NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. The images were taken on Sept. 7, 2018, during the third and final flight of the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) project. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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.

(more…)

Atlas V Launches X-37B Space Plane

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, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. (Credit: ULA)

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).

(more…)

The Little Tires That Could… Go to Mars

Engineers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center assemble the new shape memory alloy rover tire prior to testing in the Simulated Lunar Operations Laboratory. (Credits: NASA)

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).

(more…)

Perseverance Presses On, Remains Targeted for Summer Launch

The Mars Helicopter, visible in lower center of the image, was attached to the belly of NASA’s Perseverance rover at Kennedy Space Center on April 6, 2020. The helicopter will be deployed onto the Martian surface about two-and-a-half months after Perseverance lands. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Testing on NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover at Kennedy Space Center closed out April on an extremely high note.

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.

(more…)

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Will Look at Mars Through These ‘Eyes’

A close-up of the head of Mars Perseverance’s remote sensing mast. The mast head contains the SuperCam instrument (its lens is in the large circular opening). In the gray boxes beneath mast head are the two Mastcam-Z imagers. On the exterior sides of those imagers are the rover’s two navigation cameras. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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.

(more…)

Alabama High School Student Names NASA’s Mars Helicopter

Vaneeza Rupani (inset), a junior at Tuscaloosa County High School in Northport, Alabama, came up with the name Ingenuity for NASA’s Mars Helicopter (an artist’s impression of which is seen here) and the motivation behind it during NASA’s “Name the Rover” essay contest. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/NIA/Rupani Family)

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.

(more…)