The Mars Rover Perseverance is now 100-days from its scheduled launch to Mars on July. Before its much-anticipated maiden launch, the car-sized robot is equipped with new tires and a parachute as part of standard equipment to tackle the terrain on the Red Planet.
Adding to the exploratory efforts of the Curiosity Rover on Mars is its sibling, Mars rover Perseverance, that will take the place of its predecessor. Its mission is to search for life on the Red planet and gather more information.
Mars rover Perseverance is expected to leave from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the early morning of July 17. This is the optimum time for the aircraft carrying the rover to get into the right path for a smooth trip to Mars.
Perseverance gets parachute for air brakes
The robotic rover has been designed by NASA to be in the right shape for the day it leaves for Mars. On March 26, technicians at NASA, were installing the all-important parachute system that will deploy when reaching Mar's atmosphere.
Another purpose is to keep the unit intact when reaching the surface. The chute will act as air brakes to slow down the 2,260-lbs mass of the Perseverance from a dropping speed of Mach 1.7 to 200 miles-per-hour. It will land on Mar's at February 18, 2021.
To put it in perspective, the spacecraft will be flying at Mach 1.7, that is equivalent to 767 mph, or 1,235 km/h (sea level) on Earth.
Rover gets brand new wheels for mobility
One more important component to the Perseverance rover are the wheels that are needed for mobility on the ground. It was installed on March 30, according to the final flight versions. The wheels were not the test ones used on Percy last Dec 2019 in NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California. The final one is an update of the Curiosity rover with some slight differences.
The components are made of flight-grade aluminum, with titanium spokes and a bit bigger and narrower compared to Curiosity's, another slight difference is nearly a millimeter thickness, added NASA in a statement.
One of the biggest change is the tire treads or grousers that is different from Curiosity 24 chevron-pattern, which is now 48 gently curved patterns.
When Curiosity landed in 2012, the wheels are surely beat up since it reached the Mar's Gale Crater upon landing from space on August 12. The technician has made the changes where the rover wanders to lessen damage and the wear and tear. Testing the wheels at Mars Yard in JPL of both rovers will show the Perseverance has better traction and design based on actual data.
Target area of the Perseverance rover
When the rover Perseverance lands, it will explore the Mars' 28-mile-wide (45 km) Jezero Crater, that might have had a lake and a river delta billions of years ago. It will scour the land to study the aspects of geology and collect samples for study and return to Earth.
It will carry out other science and technology tasks in the Jezero crater too. The rover gas gear that will generate oxygen from it carbon-dioxide will help get precious air for pioneers.
Perseverance will launch a small helicopter attached to its belly, which will attempt to pioneer aerial exploration of the Red Planet.