NASA’s Mars 2020 rover has accomplished its fabrication and meeting levels and is sort of prepared for its launch to Mars in a number of months.
Earlier than ultimate launch preparations can happen, the rover wanted to be transported from its house at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, to the Kennedy House Middle in Florida from the place it would launch. For the rover’s 2300-mile journey, it was carried aboard an Air Drive C-17 Globemaster cargo airplane on which landed in Florida earlier this week.
The occasion was relatively bittersweet for the JPL scientists who’ve been engaged on the rover for years. “Our rover has left the one house it has ever identified,” John McNamee, Mars 2020 challenge supervisor, mentioned in a press release. “The 2020 household right here at JPL is a bit unhappy to see it go, however we’re much more proud realizing that the subsequent time our rover takes to the skies, it will likely be headed to Mars.”
The rover will shortly be joined in Florida by the mission’s cruise stage and the Mars Helicopter, a small experimental helicopter that can be despatched to Mars to see whether or not it’s potential to realize autonomous flight within the skinny Martian ambiance.
With all parts for the mission in place, the ultimate meeting levels can now start. This entails the deployment of elements just like the rover’s aeroshell, a protecting overlaying that may hold the fragile devices contained in the rover secure in the course of the excessive temperatures and impacts brought on by launch, house journey, and touchdown. Different elements that needed to be assembled embody the descent stage and mission help tools, which have been introduced first to the Air Drive’s March Air Reserve Base by truck earlier than being loaded onto C-17 planes.
The power used for ultimate spacecraft processing for Mars 2020 is identical on that processes the Curiosity rover, presently on Mars and exploring the Gale Crater. The subsequent step is for the entire Mars 2020 parts to be examined to make sure that no points occurred throughout transport. Then the ultimate stage of meeting and testing can start, which is able to take a number of months.
The rover is scheduled to be enclosed inside its aeroshell in late June, earlier than being delivered to the Cape Canaveral Air Drive Station’s Launch Advanced 41 to be hooked up to a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket for launch to the purple planet in early July this yr.