With First Martian Samples Packed, Perseverance Initiates Mars Sample Return Mission

This composite of two images shows the hole drilled by NASA’s Perseverance rover during its successful sample-collection attempt. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA, along with the European Space Agency, is developing a campaign to return the Martian samples to Earth.

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — On Sept. 1, NASA’s Perseverance rover unfurled its arm, placed a drill bit at the Martian surface, and drilled about 2 inches, or 6 centimeters, down to extract a rock core. The rover later sealed the rock core in its tube. This historic event marked the first time a spacecraft packed up a rock sample from another planet that could be returned to Earth by future spacecraft.

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NASA’s Perseverance Plans Next Sample Attempt

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover will abrade the rock at the center of this image, allowing scientists and engineers to assess whether it would hold up to the rover’s more powerful sampling drill. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The rover will abrade a rock this week, allowing scientists and engineers to decide whether that target would withstand its powerful drill.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — In its search for signs of ancient microbial life on Mars, NASA’s Perseverance rover is once again preparing to collect the first of many rock core samples that could eventually be brought to Earth for further study.

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The Next Steps for Sampling on Perseverance

This Mastcam-Z image of a portion of the Artuby ridgeline shows large (meter-scale) boulders similar to those Perseverance is expected to encounter at Citadelle. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU)

Written by Jennifer Trosper
Project Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

I will always remember the moments around our first sampling attempt. Longtime friend (and Sampling System Chief Engineer) Louise Jandura and I were in the operations area awaiting the next data downlink. It was “so far, so good” with our earlier morning results showing we had achieved a full-depth borehole. Other members of the team began to filter in as images of the sealed sample tube came up on the ops room monitors. We were all starting to get that feeling you can get in this business when a big milestone comes together because, at first look, it appeared to be our first cored sample. But within minutes, the team noted that the volume probe indicated no sample was in the tube, and we quickly switched to problem-solving mode – once again trying to solve another problem tossed our way from the surface of Mars.

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NASA Perseverance Rover Briefing to Feature Landing Video

This high-resolution still image is part of a video taken by several cameras as NASA’s Perseverance rover touched down on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. A camera aboard the descent stage captured this shot. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA will hold a virtual briefing at 2 p.m. EST (11 a.m. PST) today to unveil the “How to Land on Mars” video, which will present first-of-its-kind footage the Perseverance rover captured as it touched down on the Red Planet Feb. 18. The agency also will show new images the rover took on the Martian surface.

The briefing will be broadcast on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website and stream live on multiple agency social media platforms.

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Video: NASA Perseverance Lands on Mars

Video Caption: After a seven-month-long journey, NASA’s Perseverance Rover successfully touched down on the Red Planet on Feb. 18, 2021. Mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California celebrate landing NASA’s fifth — and most ambitious — rover on Mars.

A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith.

Also flying with Perseverance is NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter, which will attempt to show controlled, powered flight is possible in the very thin Martian atmosphere.

For more about Perseverance, visit http://mars.nasa.gov/perseverance

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Perseverance Experiment to Produce Oxygen on Mars

Video Caption: MOXIE, short for the Mars OXygen In situ resource utilization Experiment, is one of the seven experiments hitching a ride on the NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover. It’s a collaboration between MIT AeroAstro, the MIT Haystack Observatory, and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Carbon dioxide makes up about 96 percent of the gas in Mars’ atmosphere. MOXIE contains a system that pulls in Martian air and electrochemically splits the carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbon monoxide, and an onboard sensor will allow us to measure the purity of the oxygen we generate. MOXIE will help us get ready for future missions by demonstrating that we can make our own oxygen on Mars to use for rocket propellant and for the crew to breathe when we get there.

AeroAstro graduate student Eric Hinterman has been working on MOXIE since 2016, when he started modeling the MOXIE software and hardware as part of his Master’s thesis. He has continued his work as a PhD candidate, where he is looking at the design and engineering challenges of scaling up the MOXIE technology to a full-size system that could support human life on a Mars mission in the future.

Produced by MIT Video Productions
Directed by Sara Cody, Communications Officer, MIT AeroAstro
Featuring Eric Hinterman

Additional footage provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech
Music credit: Endless Horizons by Ian Post | Artlist.io

Aerojet Rocketdyne Receives Contract for up to Two More MMRTGS for Future Deep Space Exploration Missions

Artist’s concept of NASA’s Perseverance Rover. Perseverance’s power source, a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) provided by Aerojet Rocketdyne, is visible at the aft end of the rover. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

LOS ANGELES, Calif., Feb. 12, 2021 – Aerojet Rocketdyne recently received a contract award to deliver up to two Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (MMRTG) to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for use in future planetary science missions. MMRTGs are radioisotope power systems that have been used as reliable electrical power sources on multiple deep space missions, including NASA’s Perseverance Rover, which will land on Mars on Feb. 18.

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Tricky Terrain: Helping to Assure a Safe Rover Landing

Mars 2020’s Perseverance rover is equipped with a lander vision system based on terrain-relative navigation, an advanced method of autonomously comparing real-time images to preloaded maps that determine the rover’s position relative to hazards in the landing area. Divert guidance algorithms and software can then direct the rover around those obstacles if needed. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

How two new technologies will help Perseverance, NASA’s most sophisticated rover yet, touch down onto the surface of Mars this month.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — After a nearly seven-month journey to Mars, NASA’s Perseverance rover is slated to land at the Red Planet’s Jezero Crater Feb. 18, 2021, a rugged expanse chosen for its scientific research and sample collection possibilities.

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NASA’s Perseverance Rover Bringing 3D-Printed Metal Parts to Mars

This video clip shows a 3D printing technique where a printer head scans over each layer of a part, blowing metal powder which is melted by a laser. It’s one of several ways parts are 3D printed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but was not used to create the parts aboard the Perseverance rover.

For hobbyists and makers, 3D printing expands creative possibilities; for specialized engineers, it’s also key to next-generation spacecraft design.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — If you want to see science fiction at work, visit a modern machine shop, where 3D printers create materials in just about any shape you can imagine. NASA is exploring the technique – known as additive manufacturing when used by specialized engineers – to build rocket engines as well as potential  outposts on the Moon and Mars. Nearer in the future is a different milestone: NASA’s  Perseverance rover, which lands on the Red Planet on Feb. 18, 2021, carries 11 metal parts made with 3D printing.

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Deep Learning Will Help Future Mars Rovers Go Farther, Faster, and Do More Science

The Machine Learning-based Analytics for Autonomous Rover Systems (MAARS) program encompasses a range of areas where artificial intelligence could be useful. The team presented results of the MAARS project at IEEE Aerospace Conference in March 2020. The project was a finalist for the NASA Software Award. (Credit: TACC)

NASA JPL team uses TACC’s Maverick2 system to develop software, train models.

AUSTIN, Texas (Texas Advance Computing Center PR) — NASA’s Mars rovers have been one of the great scientific and space successes of the past two decades.

Four generations of rovers have traversed the red planet gathering scientific data, sending back evocative photographs, and surviving incredibly harsh conditions — all using on-board computers less powerful than an iPhone 1. The latest rover, Perseverance, was launched on July 30, 2020, and engineers are already dreaming of a future generation of rovers.

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NASA Establishes Board to Initially Review Mars Sample Return Plans

This illustration depicts NASA’s Perseverance rover operating on the surface of Mars. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has established a Mars Sample Return Program Independent Review Board to proactively assist with analysis of current plans and goals for one of the most difficult missions humanity has ever undertaken: the return of samples from another planet to study on Earth.

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An European Dream Team for Mars

In February 2021, NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover and NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter (shown in an artist’s concept) will be the agency’s two newest explorers on Mars. Both were named by students as part of an essay contest. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PARIS (ESA PR) — European scientists will help select rocks and soil from Mars in the search for life on our planetary neighbour.

Five European researchers are part of NASA’s Mars 2020 science team to select the most promising martian samples bound for Earth.

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Northrop Grumman Provides Navigation System for NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Mission

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)

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., July 24, 2020 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) will once again be the provider of an inertial measurement unit (IMU) to support an expedition to Mars when NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Perseverance Mars Rover launches between July 30 and August 15.

It will land at Mars’ Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021. The mission’s four major scientific objectives include studying the planet’s habitability, seeking biosignatures of past life, collecting core samples of the surface, and testing oxygen production in the planet’s atmosphere.

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Register for the Mars 2020 Virtual NASA Social

In February 2021, NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover and NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter (shown in an artist’s concept) will be the agency’s two newest explorers on Mars. Both were named by students as part of an essay contest. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Launching to Mars is hard — and in these times, even harder — but NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover team has met the challenge. This robotic astrobiologist and scientist is headed to the Red Planet to seek signs of ancient life, pave the way for human explorers, and collect rock and soil samples for future return to Earth. We’re almost at the finish line to launch: final preparations are underway, as the rover and its Atlas V rocket get ready for liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida on July 30, 2020.

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NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover Passes Flight Readiness Review

In February 2021, NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover and NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter (shown in an artist’s concept) will be the agency’s two newest explorers on Mars. Both were named by students as part of an essay contest. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission cleared its Flight Readiness Review Wednesday, an important milestone on its way to the launch pad. The meeting was an opportunity for the Mars 2020 team and launch vehicle provider United Launch Alliance to report on the readiness of the spacecraft, along with the Atlas V rocket, flight and ground hardware, software, personnel, and procedures. The daily launch window on Thursday, July 30, opens at 7:50 a.m. EDT.

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