NASA’s next rover to the Red Planet is slated to launch no earlier than July 30. These highlights will get you up to speed on the ambitious mission.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — In less than a month, NASA expects to launch the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Loaded with scientific instruments, advanced computational capabilities for landing, and other new systems, the Perseverance rover is the largest, heaviest, most sophisticated vehicle NASA has ever sent to the Red Planet.
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.
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.
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).
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.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — With the launch period of NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover opening in 14 weeks, final preparations of the spacecraft continue at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In the past week, the assembly, test and launch operations team completed important milestones, fueling the descent stage — also known as the sky crane — and attaching the Mars Helicopter, which will be the first aircraft in history to attempt power-controlled flight on another planet.
PARIS (ESA PR) — If you could bring something back from Mars to Earth, what would you choose? This question is becoming reality, as ESA opens a call for scientists to join a NASA team working to determine which martian samples should be collected and stored by the Perseverance rover set to launch this Summer.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Final assembly and testing of NASA’s Perseverance rover continues at Kennedy Space Center in Florida as the July launch window approaches. In some of the last steps required prior to stacking the spacecraft components in the configuration they’ll be in atop the Atlas V rocket, the rover’s wheels and parachute have been installed.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s “Send Your Name to Mars” campaign invited people around the world to submit their names to ride aboard the agency’s next rover to the Red Planet. Some 10,932,295 people did just that.
The names were stenciled by electron beam onto three fingernail-sized silicon chips, along with the essays of the 155 finalists in NASA’s “Name the Rover” contest. The chips were then were attached to an aluminum plate on NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 16. Scheduled to launch this summer, Perseverance will land at Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021.