NASA’s renamed Mars 2020 rover is scheduled to launch later this year, and the team has successfully attached major sampling components that will be used to collect rocks and dust from Mars after landing. Before liftoff, some devices will need to be added to the Perseverance. But the agency insists the new coronavirus pandemic has not affected its plans and preparations are still ongoing.
Perseverance is a 2,300-pound (1,043-kilogram) rover that will carry NASA’s noblest ambitions for Mars. It will land in Mars’ Jezero crater, where it will use its airborne instruments to look for signs of past microbial life, obtain Martian climate data and collect samples to study on Earth. The key to this ultimate goal is the sample handling arm. It consists of a pair of components: Bit Carousel and Adaptive Caching Assembly, which will be used to collect, protect, protect, and return these dust and rock samples to scientists.
Bit Carousel consists of nine drill bits that the rover will use to drill into the ground, pull samples and transfer them to the rover’s interior for analysis through an adaptive caching device. The system has seven motors and a total of 3,000 parts and is responsible for storing and evaluating rock and dust samples. The installation of the adaptive caching system and Bit Carousel was completed in early March, and the testing of the electrical wiring was completed shortly thereafter.
“By adding adaptive caching and Bit Carousel, the core of our sample collection system is now on marstomy,” said Matt Wallace, JPL’s associate project manager for Mars 2020. The last but critical component we are going to install will be the sample tube, which will contain the first samples to be brought back to Earth from another planet for analysis. We’ll keep these pristine until we’re in a few months. “
The Mars rover will be launched from July 17 to August 5. The agency said that, at least for now, the plans have not been affected by the new coronavirus outbreak. If all goes according to plan, the rover is expected to land on Mars on February 18, 2021.