WHY PERSEVERANCE ROVER IS THE FLAGSHIP MISSION OF NASA

ABSTRACT

If anyone knows anything about exploring the landscape of Mars, it’s NASA. NASA has a long history of sending rovers to Mars. This mission is NASA’s flagship rover mission, also this the most sophisticated vehicle from NASA. Each mission is better than the last also each one is expensive than the last. Their previous four rovers have traveled on the surface of Mars exploring it and gathering data along the way.
Except now scientists want more than to just look at Mars, they want a piece of it. As a result, NASA is sending the most advanced rover yet. It’s the first step in a series of proposed missions over a span of a decade. They have chosen a place called Jezero (crater) to do science. The crater is a remarkable 45 Km diameter crater that was potentially filled with water had a river in a key timeframe in Mars’ history. The rover will have a mission duration of 1 Martian year or roughly 2 Earth years.

An Image of the Rover PERSEVERANCE
All 4 Previous Rovers in a Single Picture

PERSEVERANCE AT A GLANCE

1. Ingenuity ( The Helicopter)

It will the first time when we are sending a helicopter to another planet. Also, this will be the first powered flight on another planet. The main purpose of this mission is to demonstrate the technology that we can fly on Mars and not make scientific discoveries. Also, it lays a foundation for future flight on another planet. It can take high-resolution imagery as compared to an orbiting spacecraft in space.
Each flight of the helicopter will last about 90 seconds, with the helicopter being solar-powered, charging in the day, and work in the night while doing 1 flight a day. The capacity of the battery is about 35 to 40 watt-hours, and all that battery is not just used for flying, it has to survive in the freezing Mars climate at night so it needs to warm itself. Approximately 2 thirds the battery is used in keeping the internals warm.

Battery Enclosure Behind the Circuit Board to Keep Internals Warm
Detailed Description of Helicopter Blades
This is the Actual Hardware of the Ingenuity Helicopter that is Sent to Mars

2. Super Cam

It is a device present on the rover that has the ability to shoot lasers at rocks and vaporize them to produce plasma, which the spectrometer can then analyze and listen to it. Scientists are working to understand what the sound can tell us about the properties of the rocks just by listening to the sound created by vaporizing rocks. In that, we might also learn about the atmosphere through which sound has traveled and also the laser has to travel through.

IMPROVEMENT OVER CURIOSITY ROVER

1. A Dedicated Computer

This time Mars 2020 has a dedicated computer for the movement of the rover. As this was a limiting factor in exploring the full potential of the previous rovers. Every step of the Curiosity needed examining before operating which took time and unnecessarily slowed the rover down and this was a bit dangerous as an improper movement caused the previous Spirit rover to get stuck and once Curiosity also got stuck but was able to free itself.
The new software has been designed to keep the rover going and it will be updated throughout the mission of Mars 2020 mission. This allows the rover to manage its daily activity more efficiently and productively. It will allow Perseverance to cover more ground without consulting controllers on Earth so frequently.

2. Improved Wheel Design

The previous rover Curiosity had its wheel made up from thin sheets of aluminum with titanium at the core and it spelled JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in Morse code on touching the surface but it had a major design flaw as the wheel got pierced by the razor-sharp rock on the surface of the Mars. But not everything was bad about it as it gave more traction while climbing the slopes of the mountain.

Newly Designed Titanium Wheels on Perseverance
Punctured Wheel of the Previous Generation Curiosity Rover

SPECIALITY OF PERSEVERANCE

  • The PRESERVERANCE is designed to collect the Martian soil sample and return them to Earth on future missions by the 2030s. The rover has specially designed super clean tubes to collect those samples and keep them intact and preserved in their present state until the return journey. The extended hand of the rover is responsible for collecting the samples. There are 43 tubes and scientists hope to bring back about 37 considering all the possibilities.
    The samples have to be super clean to avoid the risk of introducing our own Earth particles to the samples when we touch them. Instead of finding Mars particles, we would be finding Earth particles by mistake. So, it has to be in a quarantined condition for a while.
All the 43 Tubes for Sample Collection
  • SHERLOC- It stands for Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organic & Chemicals. It enables non-contact, spatially resolved, and high sensitivity detection and characterization of organics and minerals in the Martian surface and near subsurface. The main goal of the instrument is to assess past aqueous history, detect the presence and perseverance of potential biosignatures, and support the selection of return samples. To do this SHERLOC measures minerals, the distribution, and types of organics preserved at the surface and correlates them to textural features.

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