Perseverance Is Officially Roving Mars After a Successful Test Drive

by akoloy

The Mars rover Perseverance has efficiently performed its first take a look at drive on the Red Planet, the US area company NASA said Friday.

The six-wheeled rover travelled about 6.5 meters (21.3 toes) in 33 minutes on Thursday, NASA mentioned.


It drove 4 meters ahead, turned in place 150 levels to the left, after which backed up 2.5 meters, leaving tire tracks within the Martian mud.

“This was our first chance to ‘kick the tires’ and take Perseverance out for a spin,” mentioned Anais Zarifian, Perseverance mobility take a look at mattress engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Zarifian mentioned the take a look at drive went “incredibly well” and represented a “huge milestone for the mission and the mobility team.”

“We’re going to do some longer drives,” she added. “This is just the beginning.”

NASA engineers mentioned they have been learning doable routes for longer rover voyages on the floor of Mars.

A barely longer journey was deliberate for Friday, and maybe one other Saturday if all goes nicely, NASA mentioned.

The rover can cowl 200 meters per Martian day, which is barely longer than a day on Earth.

And it goes 5 occasions quicker than Curiosity, its predecessor, which continues to be functioning eight years after touchdown on Mars.

Perseverance wiggles a wheel.Perseverance wiggles a wheel. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Perseverance deputy mission supervisor Robert Hogg mentioned engineers have been additionally getting ready for the primary flight of a helicopter drone carried by the rover.

Hogg mentioned the rover workforce was understanding flight zones and hoped to conduct the primary flight in late spring or early summer time.


He mentioned the mission had not skilled any main issues thus far. 

“It’s all just minor stuff,” he mentioned. “Everything we’ve tried has worked beautifully.”

Perseverance was launched on July 30, 2020, and landed on the floor of Mars on February 18 on a mission to seek for indicators of previous life on the Red Planet.

The rover’s main mission will final simply over two years however it’s prone to stay operational nicely past that.

Over the approaching years, Perseverance will try to gather 30 rock and soil samples in sealed tubes to be despatched again to Earth someday within the 2030s for evaluation.

About the scale of an SUV, the craft weighs a ton, is provided with a seven-foot-long robotic arm, has 19 cameras, two microphones and a collection of cutting-edge devices.

So far it has despatched again greater than 7,000 pictures, together with one in every of a light-weight brown rock that was used to check a tool referred to as SuperCam: an ultra-sophisticated French-made digicam the scale of a shoe field that may shoot a laser beam at rocks as much as seven meters away to investigate their make-up. 

The rover is simply the fifth to set its wheels down on Mars, all of them American. The feat was first completed in 1997. 

The United States is getting ready for an eventual human mission to the planet, although planning stays very preliminary.

© Agence France-Presse


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