NASA’s Perseverance rover is halfway to Mars


NASA's Perseverance Rover is halfway to Mars

This illustration of the Mars 2020 spacecraft in interplanetary space was generated using images from NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System. The image comes from the midpoint of the mission between Earth and Mars. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission has amassed many flight miles since it was launched into the sky on July 30 – 146.3 million miles (235.4 million kilometers) to be exact. It turns out that’s exactly the same distance it has to travel before the spacecraft hits the Red Planet’s atmosphere as an 11,900 mph (19,000 km / h) freight train on February 18, 2021.

“At 1:40 pm Pacific time today, our spaceship will have as many miles in its metaphorical rearview mirror as it will come out of its metaphorical windshield,” said Julie Kangas, a navigator working on the Perseverance rover mission at Jet Propulsion NASA’s Laboratory in Southern California. “While I don’t think there will be any cake, especially since most of us work from home, it’s still a pretty accurate milestone. Next stop, Jezero Crater.”

The gravitational influence of the Sun plays a significant role in shaping not only the trajectories of spacecraft to Mars (as well as everywhere in the solar system), but also the relative motion of the two planets. So Perseverance’s path to the Red Planet follows a curved trajectory rather than a straight path like an arrow.

“Even though we’re halfway through the distance we need to travel to Mars, the rover isn’t halfway between the two worlds,” Kangas explained. “In a straight line, the Earth is 26.6 million miles [42.7 million kilometers] behind Perseverance and Mars is 17.9 million miles [28.8 million kilometers] in front of.”

At the current range, a transmission takes 2 minutes and 22 seconds to travel from the mission controllers to the JPL via the Deep Space Network to the spacecraft. By the time of landing, Perseverance will have covered 292.5 million miles (470.8 million kilometers) and Mars will be approximately 130 million miles (209 million kilometers) from Earth; at that point, a transmission will take approximately 11.5 minutes to reach the spacecraft.

NASA's Perseverance rover is halfway to Mars

NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover reached its midpoint – 146.3 million miles (235.4 million kilometers) – on its journey to Jezero Crater on October 27, 2020, at 1:40 pm PDT (4: 40 EDT). Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

The work continues along the way

The mission team continues to monitor large and small spacecraft systems during interplanetary cruise. Perseverance’s RIMFAX and MOXIE instruments were tested and determined they were in good condition on October 15th. MEDA got a thumbs up on October 19th. There was even a rumor to check the condition of the X-ray tube in the PIXL instrument on October 16, which also went as planned.

“If it is part of our spacecraft and electricity is running through it, we want to confirm that it is still functioning properly after launch,” said Keith Comeaux, deputy chief engineer of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission. “Among these checks, along with recharging the batteries of the Mars rover and helicopter, loading files and sequences for surface operations and planning and executing the trajectory correction maneuvers, our plate is full until landing. “.

Learn more about the mission

A key focus of the Perseverance mission to Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and store Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).

Subsequent missions, currently under consideration by NASA in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these cached samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

The Mars 2020 mission is part of a larger program that includes missions to the Moon as a way to prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet. Charged with the return of astronauts to the moon by 2024, NASA will establish a sustained human presence on and around the moon by 2028 through NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration plans.

NASA’s Perseverance rover attached to the Atlas V rocket.

Quote: NASA’s Perseverance rover is halfway to Mars (2020, October 27) recovered on October 27, 2020 from

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