NASA Gearing Up For Mars 2020 Mission Despite COVID-19 Crisis

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Despite the coronavirus pandemic, NASA is gearing up for the upcoming Mars mission. With just 13 weeks to go before the launch of the NASA Perseverance rover, the final preparations of the spacecraft continue at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA noted that the assembling, test, and launch operations team completed a crucial test of the rover.

 

What Is NASA Perseverance Rover

What Is NASA Perseverance Rover

The Perseverance rover is a robotic scientist weighing about 1,025 kgs set to explore Mars. The rover is equipped to fulfill its mission of searching for signs of past microbial life, characterize the planet's climate and geology, collect samples for future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet.

Perseverance rover
 

NASA's blog post notes that the Perseverance rover gets balanced meaning that the Precision mass properties measurements are essential to a safe landing on Mars. They help to ensure that the spacecraft travels accurately throughout its trip to the Red Planet. This includes right from its liftoff, through its entry, descent, and landing on the Red Planet.

NASA notes that that the Mars 2020 mission carrying the Perseverance rover will take off any day between July 17 and August 5. Once liftoff, the rover will land Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021, on Mars. The Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission itself is part of the larger missions to the Moon and even human exploration to Mars.

Perseverance Rover Gets Balanced

"On April 6, the meticulous three-day process began with Perseverance being lifted onto the rover turnover fixture," NASA said in the blog post. "The team then slowly rotated the rover around its x-axis - an imaginary line that extends through the rover from its tail to its front - to determine its center of gravity (the point at which weight is evenly dispersed on all sides) relative to that axis," the post further explains.

NASA team

Next, the NASA team moved the Perseverance rover to a spin table, who's surface was on a spherical air bearing that levitated on a thin layer of nitrogen gas. The purpose was to minimize friction affecting the accuracy of the results.

The NASA tests could be better understood with a comparison. For instance, just as an auto mechanic places weights on a car tire's rim to bring it into balance, the Perseverance team analyzed the data and then added 6.27 kgs to the rover's chassis. The result is that Perseverance is within the exact spot mission that the designers intended.

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