The US National Aerospace Agency (NASA) reported today about the next events in the Perseverance spacecraft program on Mars. Over the past week, the rover made its first trip to the Red Planet, checked the operation of the manipulator, and also updated its own software.
The Perseverance spacecraft made its first movement on the surface of Mars on March 4 – two weeks after arrival. The route was not very long – its length was only 6.5 meters. However, the purpose of this trip was only to check the undercarriage of the six-wheeled rover for the subsequent calibration of scientific instruments. The check-in took a total of 33 minutes. During this time, Perseverance drove 4 meters forward, turned 150 degrees to the left, and then returned 2.5 meters back, where it took a new temporary parking space.
A quick test of my steering, and things are looking good as I get ready to roll. My team and I are keen to get moving. One step at a time. pic.twitter.com/XSYfT158AQ
– NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) March 5, 2021
Now fresh images transmitted by the Perseverance rover from the Red Planet contain tread marks.
In the future, when the apparatus begins to carry out a scientific program, its trips will become longer. It is assumed that he will regularly travel 200 meters or more. According to the plan, the rover must go to the delta of the ancient river in order to collect stones for their subsequent sending to Earth and try to find traces of a past life. Scientists are now deciding which way to drive the device, and whether to choose a simpler route or go along a more complex route, where intriguing artifacts can be found that confirm the existence of water on the planet from 3 to 4 billion years ago.
Another important test was carried out on March 2, when specialists first unfolded the two-meter robotic arm of the rover and checked all of its five joints. This operation took two hours. The manipulator, on which various scientific instruments and tools for drilling soil are installed, are planned to be used in the future to study the geological features of the planet.
NASA also reported that since the arrival of the rover, experts have loaded new software into the device, replacing the firmware used during landing with a new one – research. In addition, the specialists tested the RIMFAX GPR and the MOXIE oxygen production device, as well as deployed two MEDA environmental sensors.
This week I’ve been doing lots of health checkouts, getting ready to get to work. I’ve checked many tasks off my list, including instrument tests, imaging, and getting my arm moving. Warming up for a marathon of science. pic.twitter.com/A0aqhWVo5T
– NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) March 3, 2021
Along with this, the rover continues to send more and more new images to Earth, the number of which has already reached more than seven thousand. All new images are posted in a special section on the NASA website.
In the future, more detailed tests and calibration of scientific instruments are planned, sending the rover over longer distances, as well as dropping protective covers from the sample assembly system and from the Ingenuity Martian helicopter. The first test flights of the helicopter will take place later, when normal operation of the rover begins.
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