NASA’s Mars 2020 probe has been in the assembly phase for the past few months, and it is now ready to demonstrate its ability to work and to reduce the involvement of NASA’s Earth experts,media reported. Curiosity, the rover currently on mission to Mars, relies mostly on NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to set its course.
For Mars 2020, NASA hopes it will have more autonomy. To do this, the researchers installed autopilot software and a higher-resolution color navigation camera in the probe. With this work, the probe will be able to deal with obstacles and other problems more quickly, while its horizons will become more open and information will be entered into another computer to generate maps. While the Earth team will still set the course for Mars 2020, it should be better able to execute it without waiting for assistance.
Mars 2020 is understood to be about 650 feet (198 meters) a day on Mars every day. While that may not seem like much, it’s actually close to The Opportunity’s one-day driving record of 702 feet (214 meters).
This week’s test at the JPL, by contrast, is much shorter. Over a 10-hour process, the Mars 2020 completed direction control, cornering and driving in increments of 3 feet. To demonstrate that it has the conditions to handle slopes, NASA has also added slope testing to its tests.
Although the test may be relatively short,’ but if Mars 2020 can do this on Earth, it should not be a problem under the gravity conditions of Mars. If all goes according to plan, Mars 2020 will be launched in July or August 2020 and land on Mars in mid-February the following year for a long scientific journey. The probe will also carry a new helicopter, which will be responsible for overlooking the red planet from above.