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Mars Rover 2020

Flyaway

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NASA's Next Mars Rover Progresses Toward 2020 Launch

After an extensive review process and passing a major development milestone, NASA is ready to proceed with final design and construction of its next Mars rover, currently targeted to launch in summer of 2020 and arrive on the Red Planet in February 2021.
The Mars 2020 rover will investigate a region of Mars where the ancient environment may have been favorable for microbial life, probing the Martian rocks for evidence of past life. Throughout its investigation, it will collect samples of soil and rock, and cache them on the surface for potential return to Earth by a future mission.
"The Mars 2020 rover is the first step in a potential multi-mission campaign to return carefully selected and sealed samples of Martian rocks and soil to Earth," said Geoffrey Yoder, acting associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "This mission marks a significant milestone in NASA's Journey to Mars -- to determine whether life has ever existed on Mars, and to advance our goal of sending humans to the Red Planet."
Mars 2020's MOXIE Laboratory and Principal Investigator
i
MARS 2020'S MOXIE LABORATORY AND PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
The MOXIE investigation on NASA's Mars 2020 rover will extract oxygen from the Martian atmosphere. In this image, MOXIE Principal Investigator Michael Hecht, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, is in the MOXIE laboratory at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
To reduce risk and provide cost savings, the 2020 rover will look much like its six-wheeled, one-ton predecessor, Curiosity, but with an array of new science instruments and enhancements to explore Mars as never before. For example, the rover will conduct the first investigation into the usability and availability of Martian resources, including oxygen, in preparation for human missions.
Mars 2020 will carry an entirely new subsystem to collect and prepare Martian rocks and soil samples that includes a coring drill on its arm and a rack of sample tubes. About 30 of these sample tubes will be deposited at select locations for return on a potential future sample-retrieval mission. In laboratories on Earth, specimens from Mars could be analyzed for evidence of past life on Mars and possible health hazards for future human missions.
Two science instruments mounted on the rover's robotic arm will be used to search for signs of past life and determine where to collect samples by analyzing the chemical, mineral, physical and organic characteristics of Martian rocks. On the rover's mast, two science instruments will provide high-resolution imaging and three types of spectroscopy for characterizing rocks and soil from a distance, also helping to determine which rock targets to explore up close.
A suite of sensors on the mast and deck will monitor weather conditions and the dust environment, and a ground-penetrating radar will assess sub-surface geologic structure.
The Mars 2020 rover will use the same sky crane landing system as Curiosity, but will have the ability to land in more challenging terrain with two enhancements, making more rugged sites eligible as safe landing candidates.
"By adding what's known as range trigger, we can specify where we want the parachute to open, not just at what velocity we want it to open," said Allen Chen, Mars 2020 entry, descent and landing lead at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "That shrinks our landing area by nearly half."
Terrain-relative navigation on the new rover will use onboard analysis of downward-looking images taken during descent, matching them to a map that indicates zones designated unsafe for landing.
"As it is descending, the spacecraft can tell whether it is headed for one of the unsafe zones and divert to safe ground nearby," said Chen. "With this capability, we can now consider landing areas with unsafe zones that previously would have disqualified the whole area. Also, we can land closer to a specific science destination, for less driving after landing."
There will be a suite of cameras and a microphone that will capture the never-before-seen or heard imagery and sounds of the entry, descent and landing sequence. Information from the descent cameras and microphone will provide valuable data to assist in planning future Mars landings, and make for thrilling video.
"Nobody has ever seen what a parachute looks like as it is opening in the Martian atmosphere," said JPL's David Gruel, assistant flight system manager for the Mars 2020 mission. "So this will provide valuable engineering information."
Microphones have flown on previous missions to Mars, including NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander in 2008, but never have actually been used on the surface of the Red Planet.
"This will be a great opportunity for the public to hear the sounds of Mars for the first time, and it could also provide useful engineering information," said Mars 2020 Deputy Project Manager Matt Wallace of JPL.
Once a mission receives preliminary approval, it must go through four rigorous technical and programmatic reviews - known as Key Decision Points (KDP) - to proceed through the phases of development prior to launch. Phase A involves concept and requirements definition, Phase B is preliminary design and technology development, Phase C is final design and fabrication, and Phase D is system assembly, testing and launch. Mars 2020 has just passed its KDP-C milestone.
"Since Mars 2020 is leveraging the design and some spare hardware from Curiosity, a significant amount of the mission's heritage components have already been built during Phases A and B," said George Tahu, Mars 2020 program executive at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "With the KDP to enter Phase C completed, the project is proceeding with final design and construction of the new systems, as well as the rest of the heritage elements for the mission."
The Mars 2020 mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program. Driven by scientific discovery, the program currently includes two active rovers and three NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars. NASA also plans to launch a stationary Mars lander in 2018, InSight, to study the deep interior of Mars.
JPL manages the Mars 2020 project and the Mars Exploration Program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Caltech in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.
For more information about Mars 2020, visit:
http://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020
Guy Webster
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-354-6278
guy.w.webster@jpl.nasa.gov
Dwayne Brown / Laurie Cantillo
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1726 / 202-358-1077
dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov / laura.l.cantillo@nasa.gov
http://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/news/whatsnew/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=1922

http://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/multimedia/images/?ImageID=7909
 

Flyaway

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NASA shows off Mars rover tires that bounce back into shape

The next Mars rover could ride across the alien planet on a new kind of tire that remembers its shape after running over rocks.
https://www.cnet.com/google-amp/news/nasa-mars-rovers-shape-memory-tires-glenn-research-center/

Next Mars Rover Will Have 23 'Eyes'

A Snapshot of Some Mars 2020 Cameras

› Enhanced Engineering Cameras: Color, higher resolution and wider fields of view than Curiosity's engineering cameras.

› Mastcam-Z: An improved version of Curiosity's MASTCAM with a 3:1 zoom lens.

› SuperCam Remote Micro-Imager (RMI): The highest-resolution remote imager will have color, a change from the imager that flew with Curiosity's ChemCam.

› CacheCam: Will watch as rock samples are deposited into the rover's body.

› Entry, descent and landing cameras: Six cameras will record the entry, descent and landing process, providing the first video of a parachute opening on another planet.

› Lander Vision System Camera: Will use computer vision to guide the landing, using a new technology called terrain relative navigation.

› SkyCam: A suite of weather instruments will include a sky-facing camera for studying clouds and the atmosphere.
Source: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6987
 

blackstar

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Flyaway said:
NASA shows off Mars rover tires that bounce back into shape

The next Mars rover could ride across the alien planet on a new kind of tire that remembers its shape after running over rocks.
https://www.cnet.com/google-amp/news/nasa-mars-rovers-shape-memory-tires-glenn-research-center/

Next Mars Rover Will Have 23 'Eyes'

A Snapshot of Some Mars 2020 Cameras

› Enhanced Engineering Cameras: Color, higher resolution and wider fields of view than Curiosity's engineering cameras.

› Mastcam-Z: An improved version of Curiosity's MASTCAM with a 3:1 zoom lens.

› SuperCam Remote Micro-Imager (RMI): The highest-resolution remote imager will have color, a change from the imager that flew with Curiosity's ChemCam.

› CacheCam: Will watch as rock samples are deposited into the rover's body.

› Entry, descent and landing cameras: Six cameras will record the entry, descent and landing process, providing the first video of a parachute opening on another planet.

› Lander Vision System Camera: Will use computer vision to guide the landing, using a new technology called terrain relative navigation.

› SkyCam: A suite of weather instruments will include a sky-facing camera for studying clouds and the atmosphere.
Source: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6987
Note that Mars 2020 will not use those kinds of tires. It will use more conventional tires.
 

Flyaway

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blackstar said:
Flyaway said:
NASA shows off Mars rover tires that bounce back into shape

The next Mars rover could ride across the alien planet on a new kind of tire that remembers its shape after running over rocks.
https://www.cnet.com/google-amp/news/nasa-mars-rovers-shape-memory-tires-glenn-research-center/

Next Mars Rover Will Have 23 'Eyes'

A Snapshot of Some Mars 2020 Cameras

› Enhanced Engineering Cameras: Color, higher resolution and wider fields of view than Curiosity's engineering cameras.

› Mastcam-Z: An improved version of Curiosity's MASTCAM with a 3:1 zoom lens.

› SuperCam Remote Micro-Imager (RMI): The highest-resolution remote imager will have color, a change from the imager that flew with Curiosity's ChemCam.

› CacheCam: Will watch as rock samples are deposited into the rover's body.

› Entry, descent and landing cameras: Six cameras will record the entry, descent and landing process, providing the first video of a parachute opening on another planet.

› Lander Vision System Camera: Will use computer vision to guide the landing, using a new technology called terrain relative navigation.

› SkyCam: A suite of weather instruments will include a sky-facing camera for studying clouds and the atmosphere.
Source: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6987
Note that Mars 2020 will not use those kinds of tires. It will use more conventional tires.
Maybe they should. Even though the tires used are supposed to better than Curiosity’s it still feels like a hostage to fortune considering the state of Curiosity’s.
 

blackstar

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Flyaway said:
Maybe they should. Even though the tires used are supposed to better than Curiosity’s it still feels like a hostage to fortune considering the state of Curiosity’s.
I was at JPL in July and talked to the people who redesigned the wheels for Mars 2020. They have tested the heck out of them. They made them thicker and also increased the depth of the treads. Improving the treads alone increased the performance (resistance to puncture) something like 70% because sharp rocks don't reach the surface to punch holes in it. They know what they're doing.
 

Flyaway

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blackstar said:
Flyaway said:
Maybe they should. Even though the tires used are supposed to better than Curiosity’s it still feels like a hostage to fortune considering the state of Curiosity’s.
I was at JPL in July and talked to the people who redesigned the wheels for Mars 2020. They have tested the heck out of them. They made them thicker and also increased the depth of the treads. Improving the treads alone increased the performance (resistance to puncture) something like 70% because sharp rocks don't reach the surface to punch holes in it. They know what they're doing.
That’s good to hear. Do you think that this is the end of the line for these kind of wheels and future rovers will take a different approach?
 

blackstar

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Flyaway said:
That’s good to hear. Do you think that this is the end of the line for these kind of wheels and future rovers will take a different approach?
I am not a wheel engineer, so I don't know.

However, NASA (and JPL, which has built the rovers) is very conservative about this stuff and if it works, they are wary to fix it. So if the Mars 2020 rover's wheels perform well, there will be a lot of pressure to keep using that design instead of risking something new, unless the new wheels are necessary because of the mission.*

But we should also keep in mind that Mars is unpredictable. The Curiosity rover's wheels were designed based upon what NASA knew about Mars from the previous rovers. And that knowledge was limited, which is why the rover's wheels had a hard time with unexpected terrain. So we're always learning and the designs will evolve to deal with the new knowledge.







*Read that sentence again. Another way to put this is that if NASA flies another rover like Mars 2020 at a later date, they would probably use the same wheels as the Mars 2020 wheels, assuming that those wheels work well.
 

Flyaway

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NEWS | NOVEMBER 28, 2017
NASA Builds its Next Mars Rover Mission

In just a few years, NASA's next Mars rover mission will be flying to the Red Planet.

At a glance, it looks a lot like its predecessor, the Curiosity Mars rover. But there's no doubt it's a souped-up science machine: It has seven new instruments, redesigned wheels and more autonomy. A drill will capture rock cores, while a caching system with a miniature robotic arm will seal up these samples. Then, they'll be deposited on the Martian surface for possible pickup by a future mission.

This new hardware is being developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, which manages the mission for the agency. It includes the Mars 2020 mission's cruise stage, which will fly the rover through space, and the descent stage, a rocket-powered "sky crane" that will lower it to the planet's surface. Both of these stages have recently moved into JPL's Spacecraft Assembly Facility.
https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7011
 

Flyaway

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May 11, 2018
RELEASE 18-035

Mars Helicopter to Fly on NASA’s Next Red Planet Rover Mission

NASA is sending a helicopter to Mars.

The Mars Helicopter, a small, autonomous rotorcraft, will travel with the agency’s Mars 2020 rover mission, currently scheduled to launch in July 2020, to demonstrate the viability and potential of heavier-than-air vehicles on the Red Planet.

“NASA has a proud history of firsts,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “The idea of a helicopter flying the skies of another planet is thrilling. The Mars Helicopter holds much promise for our future science, discovery, and exploration missions to Mars.”

U.S. Rep. John Culberson of Texas echoed Bridenstine’s appreciation of the impact of American firsts on the future of exploration and discovery.

“It’s fitting that the United States of America is the first nation in history to fly the first heavier-than-air craft on another world,” Culberson said. “This exciting and visionary achievement will inspire young people all over the United States to become scientists and engineers, paving the way for even greater discoveries in the future.”

Started in August 2013 as a technology development project at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the Mars Helicopter had to prove that big things could come in small packages. The result of the team’s four years of design, testing and redesign weighs in at little under four pounds (1.8 kilograms). Its fuselage is about the size of a softball, and its twin, counter-rotating blades will bite into the thin Martian atmosphere at almost 3,000 rpm – about 10 times the rate of a helicopter on Earth.

“Exploring the Red Planet with NASA’s Mars Helicopter exemplifies a successful marriage of science and technology innovation and is a unique opportunity to advance Mars exploration for the future,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at the agency headquarters in Washington. “After the Wright Brothers proved 117 years ago that powered, sustained, and controlled flight was possible here on Earth, another group of American pioneers may prove the same can be done on another world.”

The helicopter also contains built-in capabilities needed for operation at Mars, including solar cells to charge its lithium-ion batteries, and a heating mechanism to keep it warm through the cold Martian nights. But before the helicopter can fly at Mars it has to get there. It will do so attached to the belly pan of the Mars 2020 rover.

“The altitude record for a helicopter flying here on Earth is about 40,000 feet. The atmosphere of Mars is only one percent that of Earth, so when our helicopter is on the Martian surface, it’s already at the Earth equivalent of 100,000 feet up,” said Mimi Aung, Mars Helicopter project manager at JPL. “To make it fly at that low atmospheric density, we had to scrutinize everything, make it as light as possible while being as strong and as powerful as it can possibly be.”

Once the rover is on the planet’s surface, a suitable location will be found to deploy the helicopter down from the vehicle and place it onto the ground. The rover then will be driven away from the helicopter to a safe distance from which it will relay commands. After its batteries are charged and a myriad of tests are performed, controllers on Earth will command the Mars Helicopter to take its first autonomous flight into history.

“We don’t have a pilot and Earth will be several light minutes away, so there is no way to joystick this mission in real time,” said Aung. “Instead, we have an autonomous capability that will be able to receive and interpret commands from the ground, and then fly the mission on its own.”

The full 30-day flight test campaign will include up to five flights of incrementally farther flight distances, up to a few hundred meters, and longer durations as long as 90 seconds, over a period. On its first flight, the helicopter will make a short vertical climb to 10 feet (3 meters), where it will hover for about 30 seconds.

As a technology demonstration, the Mars Helicopter is considered a high-risk, high-reward project. If it does not work, the Mars 2020 mission will not be impacted. If it does work, helicopters may have a real future as low-flying scouts and aerial vehicles to access locations not reachable by ground travel.

“The ability to see clearly what lies beyond the next hill is crucial for future explorers,” said Zurbuchen. “We already have great views of Mars from the surface as well as from orbit. With the added dimension of a bird’s-eye view from a ‘marscopter,’ we can only imagine what future missions will achieve.”

Mars 2020 will launch on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and is expected to reach Mars in February 2021.

The rover will conduct geological assessments of its landing site on Mars, determine the habitability of the environment, search for signs of ancient Martian life, and assess natural resources and hazards for future human explorers. Scientists will use the instruments aboard the rover to identify and collect samples of rock and soil, encase them in sealed tubes, and leave them on the planet’s surface for potential return to Earth on a future Mars mission.

The Mars 2020 Project at JPL in Pasadena, California, manages rover development for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is responsible for launch management.

For more information about NASA’s Mars missions, go to:

https://www.nasa.gov/mars

-end-

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/mars-helicopter-to-fly-on-nasa-s-next-red-planet-rover-mission

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOMQOqKRWjU
Animated video of the helicopter in operation on Mars.
 

Avimimus

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I wonder what airfoil they are using? That really is not the easiest set of design requirements!!
 

Flyaway

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Got to see Mars 2020 today. They were installing some stuff. I took a lot of photos, most better quality than this, but these are the ones I can grab easily.

Also, 2020 is over budget. I had heard about that a few months ago, but NASA only publicly admitted it a few days ago. I have not seen it reported yet.
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=38208.msg1916739#msg1916739
 

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NASA's Mars Helicopter Testing Enters Final Phase

NASA's Mars Helicopter flight demonstration project has passed a number of key tests with flying colors. In 2021, the small, autonomous helicopter will be the first vehicle in history to attempt to establish the viability of heavier-than-air vehicles flying on another planet.

"Nobody's built a Mars Helicopter before, so we are continuously entering new territory," said MiMi Aung, project manager for the Mars Helicopter at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "Our flight model - the actual vehicle that will travel to Mars - has recently passed several important tests."


Back in January 2019 the team operated the flight model in a simulated Martian environment. Then the helicopter was moved to Lockheed Martin Space in Denver for compatibility testing with the Mars Helicopter Delivery System, which will hold the 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) spacecraft against the belly of the Mars 2020 rover during launch and interplanetary cruise before deploying it onto the surface of Mars after landing.

As a technology demonstrator, the Mars Helicopter carries no science instruments. Its purpose is to confirm that powered flight in the tenuous Martian atmosphere (which has 1% the density of Earth's) is possible and that it can be controlled from Earth over large interplanetary distances. But the helicopter also carries a camera capable of providing high-resolution color images to further demonstrate the vehicle's potential for documenting the Red Planet.

Future Mars missions could enlist second-generation helicopters to add an aerial dimension to their explorations. They could investigate previously unvisited or difficult-to-reach destinations such as cliffs, caves and deep craters, act as scouts for human crews or carry small payloads from one location to another. But before any of that happens, a test vehicle has to prove it is possible.

In Denver, the Mars Helicopter and its delivery system were checked to make sure that the electrical connections and mechanisms that linked the flight vehicle with its cradle fit snuggly. Then, while still mated, the duo endured the sorts of vibrations they will experience during launch and in-flight operations. The thermal vacuum portion of the testing introduced them to the kinds of extreme temperatures (down to -200 degrees Fahrenheit, or -129 degrees Celsius) that they will encounter in space and on Mars and that could cause components to malfunction or fail.

The Mars Helicopter returned to JPL on May 11, 2019, for further testing and finishing touches. Among the highlights: A new solar panel that will power the helicopter has been installed, and the vehicle's rotor blades have been spun up to ensure that the more than 1,500 individual pieces of carbon fiber, flight-grade aluminum, silicon, copper, foil and aerogel continue to work as a cohesive unit. Of course, there's more testing to come.

"We expect to complete our final tests and refinements and deliver the helicopter to the High Bay 1 clean room for integration with the rover sometime this summer," said Aung, "but we will never really be done with testing the helicopter until we fly at Mars."

The Mars Helicopter will launch with the Mars 2020 rover on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in July 2020 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. When it lands in Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021, the rover will also be the first spacecraft in the history of planetary exploration with the ability to accurately retarget its point of touchdown during the landing sequence.

The 2020 rover will conduct geological assessments of its landing site on Mars, determine the habitability of the environment, search for signs of ancient Martian life and assess natural resources and hazards for future human explorers. In another first, scientists will use the instruments aboard the rover to identify and collect samples of rock and soil, encase them in sealed tubes, and leave them on the planet's surface for potential return to Earth on a future Mars mission.

JPL is building and will manage operations of the Mars 2020 rover and Mars Helicopter for the NASA Science Mission Directorate at the agency's headquarters in Washington. NASA's Launch Services Program, based at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is responsible for launch management.

If you want to send your name to Mars with NASA's 2020 mission you can do so until Sept. 30, 2019. Add your name to the list and obtain a souvenir boarding pass to Mars here:

 

Flyaway

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Veritasium

Published on Aug 10, 2019


The Mars Helicopter aims to make the first powered flight on another planet when it takes off on Mars as part of the Mars 2020 mission. I learned a lot getting to visit the drone right before it was mounted on the rover.

How do you fly in 1% of Earth's atmosphere:

Have large rotors (they are 1.2m in diameter) and spin them very fast, around 2500 RPM (5x the speed of a helicopter on Earth).

Plus the aircraft has to be light:

The Mars helicopter weighs in at 1.8kg or around the same as a laptop. Every piece had to be stripped down for weight. Instead of using aerogel for insulation, the craft makes use of CO2 gaps between components. Even aerogel was too heavy!

One of the major challenges is surviving the Martian night:

Temperatures plunge to -80C to -100C so two-thirds of the craft's power is actually used to keep its electronics warm. Only one third is used for flying. The estimated flight time is 90 seconds.

The craft can't be driven remotely, it will have to fly autonomously, using its own sensor suite to determine how to fly. The round trip 20-minute delay with Earth means steering the craft from mission control would be impossible.

 

Flyaway

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NASA's Mars Helicopter Attached to Mars 2020 Rover

Engineers attached NASA's Mars Helicopter, which will be the first aircraft to fly on another planet, to the belly of the Mars 2020 rover today in the High Bay 1 clean room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

The twin-rotor, solar-powered helicopter was connected, along with the Mars Helicopter Delivery System, to a plate on the rover's belly that includes a cover to shield the helicopter from debris during entry, descent and landing. The helicopter will remain encapsulated after landing, deploying to the surface once a suitable area to conduct test flights is found at Jezero Crater, the rover's destination.

The Mars Helicopter is considered a high-risk, high-reward technology demonstration. If the small craft encounters difficulties, the science-gathering of the Mars 2020 mission won't be impacted. If the helicopter does take flight as designed, future Mars missions could enlist second-generation helicopters to add an aerial dimension to their explorations.

"Our job is to prove that autonomous, controlled flight can be executed in the extremely thin Martian atmosphere," said JPL's MiMi Aung, the Mars Helicopter project manager. "Since our helicopter is designed as a flight test of experimental technology, it carries no science instruments. But if we prove powered flight on Mars can work, we look forward to the day when Mars helicopters can play an important role in future explorations of the Red Planet."

Along with investigating difficult-to-reach destinations such as cliffs, caves and deep craters, they could carry small science instruments or act as scouts for human and robotic explorers. The agency intends to establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon through NASA's Artemis lunar exploration plans, using the Moon as a stepping stone to putting humans on Mars.

"The Wright Brothers flew the first airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, but they built it in Dayton," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "The Mars Helicopter, destined to be the first aircraft to fly on another world, was built in Pasadena, California. Joined now to the 2020 rover, it is yet another example of how NASA's Artemis generation is expanding humanity's reach in our solar system."

"With this joining of two great spacecraft, I can say definitively that all the pieces are in place for a historic mission of exploration," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA's headquarters in Washington. "Together, Mars 2020 and the Mars Helicopter will help define the future of science and exploration of the Red Planet for decades to come."

The Mars 2020 rover, with the Mars Helicopter aboard, will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in July 2020 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. When it lands at Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021, the rover will be the first spacecraft in the history of planetary exploration with the ability to accurately retarget its point of touchdown during the landing sequence.

JPL is building and will manage operations of the Mars 2020 rover and the Mars Helicopter for NASA. NASA's Launch Services Program, based at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is responsible for launch management. Lockheed Martin Space provided the Mars Helicopter Delivery System.

To submit your name to travel to Mars with NASA's 2020 mission and obtain a souvenir boarding pass to the Red Planet, go here by Sept. 30, 2019:


For more information about the mission, go to:


For more information about NASA's Mars missions, go to:

 

FighterJock

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NASA's Mars Helicopter Attached to Mars 2020 Rover

Engineers attached NASA's Mars Helicopter, which will be the first aircraft to fly on another planet, to the belly of the Mars 2020 rover today in the High Bay 1 clean room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

The twin-rotor, solar-powered helicopter was connected, along with the Mars Helicopter Delivery System, to a plate on the rover's belly that includes a cover to shield the helicopter from debris during entry, descent and landing. The helicopter will remain encapsulated after landing, deploying to the surface once a suitable area to conduct test flights is found at Jezero Crater, the rover's destination.

The Mars Helicopter is considered a high-risk, high-reward technology demonstration. If the small craft encounters difficulties, the science-gathering of the Mars 2020 mission won't be impacted. If the helicopter does take flight as designed, future Mars missions could enlist second-generation helicopters to add an aerial dimension to their explorations.

"Our job is to prove that autonomous, controlled flight can be executed in the extremely thin Martian atmosphere," said JPL's MiMi Aung, the Mars Helicopter project manager. "Since our helicopter is designed as a flight test of experimental technology, it carries no science instruments. But if we prove powered flight on Mars can work, we look forward to the day when Mars helicopters can play an important role in future explorations of the Red Planet."

Along with investigating difficult-to-reach destinations such as cliffs, caves and deep craters, they could carry small science instruments or act as scouts for human and robotic explorers. The agency intends to establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon through NASA's Artemis lunar exploration plans, using the Moon as a stepping stone to putting humans on Mars.

"The Wright Brothers flew the first airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, but they built it in Dayton," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "The Mars Helicopter, destined to be the first aircraft to fly on another world, was built in Pasadena, California. Joined now to the 2020 rover, it is yet another example of how NASA's Artemis generation is expanding humanity's reach in our solar system."

"With this joining of two great spacecraft, I can say definitively that all the pieces are in place for a historic mission of exploration," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA's headquarters in Washington. "Together, Mars 2020 and the Mars Helicopter will help define the future of science and exploration of the Red Planet for decades to come."

The Mars 2020 rover, with the Mars Helicopter aboard, will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in July 2020 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. When it lands at Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021, the rover will be the first spacecraft in the history of planetary exploration with the ability to accurately retarget its point of touchdown during the landing sequence.

JPL is building and will manage operations of the Mars 2020 rover and the Mars Helicopter for NASA. NASA's Launch Services Program, based at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is responsible for launch management. Lockheed Martin Space provided the Mars Helicopter Delivery System.

To submit your name to travel to Mars with NASA's 2020 mission and obtain a souvenir boarding pass to the Red Planet, go here by Sept. 30, 2019:


For more information about the mission, go to:


For more information about NASA's Mars missions, go to:

Interesting that NASA will use autonomous flight to control the helicopter while it is flying on Mars, I suppose that NASA has to try new technologies to see if they work.
 

Foo Fighter

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No idea what this "Send your name to Mars" thing is but my cynical self say's advertising and sale of personal data. Not comfortable with that to be honest. Frequent flyer miles? Is that how many times they sell your data or the hits they attribute to you to help selling your data?
 

Flyaway

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Mars 2020 Stands on Its Own Six Wheels

This time-lapse video, taken on Oct. 8, 2019, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, captures the first time NASA's Mars 2020 rover has carried its full weight on its legs and wheels.


“After years of design, analysis and testing, it is fantastic to see the rover on her wheels for the first time," said Ben Riggs, a mechanical systems engineer working on Mars 2020 at JPL. "The whole team looks forward to seeing her in the same configuration on Mars in the not too distant future."

The rover's legs (the black tubing visible above the wheels) are composed of titanium, while the wheels are made of aluminum. Measuring 20.7 inches (52.5 centimeters) in diameter and machined with traction-providing cleats, or grousers, the wheels are engineering models that will be replaced with flight models next year. Every wheel has its own motor. The two front and two rear wheels also have individual steering motors that enable the vehicle to turn a full 360 degrees in place.

When driving over uneven terrain, the rover's "rocker-bogie" suspension system - called that because of its multiple pivot points and struts - maintains a relatively constant weight on each wheel for stability. Rover drivers avoid terrain that would cause the vehicle to tilt more than 30 degrees, but even so, the rover can handle a 45-degree tilt in any direction without tipping over. It can also roll over obstacles and through depressions the size of its wheels.

The Mars 2020 rover was photographed in the Simulator Building at JPL, where it underwent weeks of testing, including an extensive evaluation of how its instruments, systems and subsystems operate in the frigid, near-vacuum environment it will face on Mars.

JPL is building and will manage operations of the Mars 2020 rover for NASA. The rover will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in July 2020 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. NASA's Launch Services Program, based at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is responsible for launch management.

When the rover lands at Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021, it will be the first spacecraft in the history of planetary exploration with the ability to accurately retarget its point of touchdown during the landing sequence.

Charged with returning astronauts to the Moon by 2024, NASA's Artemis lunar exploration plans will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028. We will use what we learn on the Moon to prepare to send astronauts to Mars.

Interested K-12 students in U.S. public, private and home schools have one more week to enter the Mars 2020 Name the Rover essay contest. One grand prize winner will name the rover. The contest closes Nov. 1, 2019.

For more information about the name contest, go to:


For more information about the mission, go to:

 

Hobbes

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Interesting that NASA will use autonomous flight to control the helicopter while it is flying on Mars, I suppose that NASA has to try new technologies to see if they work.
They will use autonomous technology because controlling the helicopter from Earth is impossible due to the lightspeed delay (15 minutes average). And the whole point of this helicopter is technology demonstration.
 

Flyaway

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Gearing Up for Mars 2020 Rover

Danielle Sempsrott Posted on November 27, 2019

Critical ground support equipment needed to prepare NASA’s Mars 2020 rover for its journey to the Red Planet has arrived at a payload processing facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The rover is being manufactured at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and, once complete, will be sent to Kennedy for assembly, prelaunch processing and checkouts.

One vital element of hardware involved in spacecraft processing will be the Spacecraft Assembly and Rotation Fixture (SCARF) and its access stand, allowing teams to reach the spacecraft when it’s held above ground level. This fixture also is where all of the individual spacecraft elements will be mated together. Once assembly is finalized, the SCARF will rotate the spacecraft 180 degrees for encapsulation into the launch vehicle’s payload fairing, where it will remain for launch.

Developed under NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, the Mars 2020 rover is designed to better understand the geology of Mars and seek signs of ancient microbial life. The mission will collect and store a set of rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth in the future. It also will test new technology to benefit future robotic and human exploration of Mars. About the size of a car and close to the same dimensions as the Curiosity rover, the Mars 2020 rover will carry seven different scientific instruments to conduct studies aimed at benefiting future Mars exploration efforts.

The rover is scheduled to launch in the summer of 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket, procured by NASA’s Launch Services Program.

 

Grey Havoc

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Grey Havoc

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FighterJock

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I hope that the Mars 2020 rover will end up having a proper name and not a stupid name, I had enough of that nonsense with the Antarctic survey vessel which got renamed the David Attenboroug.
 

blackstar

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I hope that the Mars 2020 rover will end up having a proper name and not a stupid name, I had enough of that nonsense with the Antarctic survey vessel which got renamed the David Attenboroug.
How is that a stupid name? He's done more for education on wildlife and the environment than just about anybody.
 

FighterJock

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I hope that the Mars 2020 rover will end up having a proper name and not a stupid name, I had enough of that nonsense with the Antarctic survey vessel which got renamed the David Attenborough
How is that a stupid name? He's done more for education on wildlife and the environment than just about anybody.
I was meaning the previous name not David Attenborough which is what the boat should have been called in the first place.
 

blackstar

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I was meaning the previous name not David Attenborough which is what the boat should have been called in the first place.
It was NEVER named "Boaty McBoatface." That was just people having fun during the naming contest.

But last year I was talking to the head of underwater operations for the US-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and he loved the whole "Boaty McBoatface" thing. He has even taped a "Subby McSubface" sign to the front of the Deep Submergence Vehicle Alvin. His view is that nobody knows about ocean research and the Boaty McBoatface thing was a great way to get people's attention, and once you have it, to tell them about the work the researchers are doing. 13988128_10207302254901878_706454551876925695_o.jpg
 
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Grey Havoc

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But last year I was talking to the head of underwater operations for the US-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and he loved the whole "Boaty McBoatface" thing. He has even taped a "Subby McSubface" sign to the front of the Deep Submergence Vehicle Alvin. His view is that nobody knows about ocean research and the Boaty McBoatface thing was a great way to get people's attention, and once you have it, to tell them about the work the researchers are doing.
True.
 
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