Washington: After an almost seven-month journey to Mars, NASA’s Perseverance rover, its first mission to gather Martian damaged rock and mud, is slated to land at a tough terrain of the Red Planet on February 18.
The rover will characterise the planet’s geology and previous local weather and pave the best way for human exploration of the Red Planet.
The Perseverance rover, NASA’s most subtle rover but, will attempt to land on the Red Planet’s Jezero Crater.
But the very options that make the location fascinating to scientists additionally make it a comparatively harmful place to land, a problem that has motivated rigorous testing right here on Earth for the lander imaginative and prescient system (LVS) that the rover will rely on to securely contact down.
“Jezero is 28 miles wide, but within that expanse there are a lot of potential hazards the rover could encounter: hills, rock fields, dunes, the walls of the crater itself, to name just a few,” stated Andrew Johnson, Principal Robotics Systems Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in southern California.
“So, if you land on one of those hazards, it could be catastrophic to the whole mission,” he added.
Enter Terrain-Relative Navigation (TRN), the mission-critical know-how on the coronary heart of the lander imaginative and prescient system that captures images of the Mars terrain in actual time and compares them with onboard maps of the touchdown space, autonomously directing the rover to divert round identified hazards and obstacles as wanted.
“For Mars 2020, LVS (lander vision system) will use the position information to figure out where the rover is relative to safe spots between those hazards. And in one of those safe spots is where the rover will touch down,” defined Johnson.
The lander imaginative and prescient system permits the rover to find out its place relative to the bottom with an accuracy of about 200 toes or much less.
That low margin of error and excessive diploma of assurance are by design, and the results of intensive testing each within the lab and within the area.
“Real life can always throw you curveballs. So, we’ll be monitoring everything during the cruise phase, checking power to the camera, making sure the data is flowing as expected,” defined JPL’s Swati Mohan, steerage, navigation, and management operations lead for Mars 2020.
“And once we get that signal from the rover that says, `I’ve landed and I’m on stable ground,’ then we can celebrate.”
She’ll be at Mission Control for the touchdown, monitoring the well being of the system each step of the best way.
Known by the workforce because the “Seven Minutes of Terror,” the entry, descent, and touchdown for Perseverance will likely be broadcast reside because the rover arrives at Mars on February 18.