When the Mars 2020 mission starting very soon, within the framework of which the rover is planned to be sent to the fourth planet of the Solar System, enters its final stage (and this should happen, according to NASA estimates on August 5, 2022), the rover for exploring the Red Planet will have to be successful land on the surface of the planet and start your mission. For this, a more advanced version of the technology will be used, which has already proved itself when landing the Curiosity rover in 2012. And this technology is already being tested by NASA engineers.
How to plant a rover?
At the moment, specialists from the American Aerospace Agency are in full swing testing the steps that will be used when landing the rover. Just the other day, in Pasadena, California, the NASA-owned JPL rocket engine laboratory passed the first tests, which included the explosive separation of the stage from the rover. If you are interested in this topic, we recommend subscribing to our Telegram channel in order not to miss anything.
The landing process itself should look like this: when the rover reaches the upper limits of the Martian atmosphere at hypersonic speeds, it will be protected by an aerodynamic heat shield and a back shell that will not only reflect heat from entering the atmosphere at the time of deceleration, but will also give the device some lift power, allowing him to maneuver. When the speed decreases due to this, a number of parachutes will slow down the fall even more.
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According to calculations, after the spacecraft has dropped its cruising stage and heat shield at an altitude of 1 mile (1.6 km), the landing module will move at a speed of only 170 mph (274 km / h). Soon after, eight engines will operate. This will allow the rover to slow down for a safe landing and will enable you to control the flight to navigate the terrain and find a safe landing zone on the surface of Mars. The tests themselves were carried out as follows: the lander together with the rover was raised to a height of 10 meters using a crane, and then the rover separated from the apparatus and successfully landed.
Launching devices that would hold the rover and the launching step together was an all-day affair, ”says Ryan Van Schilifgaard, engineer of the rover assembly team for the Mars 2020 mission. Now that the tests are completed, the launching step and the rover will“ meet ”only at Cape Canaveral next spring during assembly before starting the machine.
Also, engineers tested other systems for controlled descent, namely rocket engines, which we talked about above. To do this, a rover suspended on three nylon cables at a height of 7.5 meters rotates the wheels 90 degrees so that the latter act as a landing gear.
According to NASA, after completing the JPL tests of its equipment and computers, including a surface thermal test to simulate the temperature and pressure of Mars, the rover can be sent for assembly and installation on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, which will launch in July 2020.