The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is preparing a Mars exploration mission which is scheduled to launch by 2020. As part of the preparation, NASA has begun conducting a series of preparations including a rover test drive.
Hold Your Rockets, Here is the Long Preparation Process to Make Sure All Systems are Go
This preparation takes place in high bay 1, NASA’s own jet driving laboratory facility in Pasadena, California, USA. A number of exploration preparation components starting from the launch system of the rover to its landing began.
Rover was designed similar to Curiosity with the addition of a series of new features, such as robotic hands that would be able to drill the surface of the ground and collect rock samples.
The manager of the assembly, inspection, and Mars 2020 launch operation said that his team wanted to ensure the rover and all supporting devices could be transported using Atlas V. rockets.
The preparation process begins by placing a rocket-powered landing gear on the replacement rover. After all the components and research equipment are checked, the capsule cover will be lowered using a crane.
Once everything is suitable, then the protective cone of the parachute and the travel machine will be installed to bring the rover to Mars. All aircraft components will be arranged so that the technician and operator can adjust the position of the landing craft of the rover carrier.
“Successfully setting up all the devices was one of the important achievements in our mission. It’s nice to be able to see the device well prepared as if waiting for the next component to be installed,” said Gruel as reported by Nineplanets.
After this process, NASA will carry out the process of transferring to a testing plant that conducts acoustic tests which include ‘rain’ sound waves which is simulation to show what happens when a space shuttle penetrates the Earth’s atmosphere.
This experiment will test for possible loose screws or other jammed components. Next, the experiment will be carried out in a vacuum for a week as a process of extreme environmental simulation in space.
“After the acoustic and vacuum tests, the aircraft will be dismantled for a series of experiments. Everything will be done until the Atlas rockets are fully assembled and the rover will be heading towards Monas by July 2020. So far there will be a series of assembly processes, trials, and modifications,” said Gruel.
NASA’s Plan with the Exploration, and the Data They’re Hoping For
Following this plan, in its official website, NASA revealed that it would send rover explorers who took the rover to Mars in July or August 2020 from Cape Canaveral, USA. The Rover will be tasked with carrying out long-term researches such as tracking traces of past microbial life to identifying life-supporting resources on the red planet.