The Perseverance Rover Has Passed All Pre-Flight Tests
NASA specialists have completed all pre-flight tests of the Perseverance Rover, writes the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). It is planned to launch on July 30, if bad weather and other unforeseen circumstances do not prevent it.
"We are very happy that we overcame the next barrier to launch, and all pre-flight checks went well. At the same time, we are not going to relax and will continue working in the same way until we launch the Rover into space. Mars is a very harsh planet, and we are not going to leave anything to chance," commented Matt Wallace, Deputy project Manager at Perseverance.
Initially, JPL specialists planned to send the Rover to the Red Planet on July 17. But the start date was moved-first to July 20 and 22, and then to July 30. The transfers were related to the difficulties that arose when the capsule docked with the Rover and the rocket. They were finally resolved only in the middle of this month. At the same time, NASA does not exclude that the device can go to space later if the weather or technical problems prevent it on July 30.
Now, as JPL notes, all Perseverance tests planned before the launch of the Atlas V rocket to the launch pad and the transfer of the Rover to onboard power have finally been completed. JPL management will decide when the device will be fully ready for launch on Monday, July 27. Then NASA specialists will finish the last tests of all the systems of the launch vehicle and the capsule with the Rover.
About the Rover
NASA representatives announced plans to create their fifth Rover in December 2012. It was supposed to be a kind of successor to the Curiosity Rover, which landed on Mars in August 2012 and is still working there; this would significantly reduce the cost and speed up the Assembly of the Rover. The main task of the Rover was not to search for traces of freshwater reservoirs, as in its predecessor, but to assess the habitability of Mars in the past and search for possible traces of life.
In March 2020, the Rover was officially named Perseverance. It was planned to launch to Mars in mid-summer 2020. The spacecraft will land in the area of the Yezero crater on the equator of Mars in February 2021.
Perseverance will not only study the properties of sedimentary rock deposits but also collect their samples in a special "Cabinet" installed on its Board. The Ingenuity helicopter will help him in this. However, its main task will be to show that flights on the surface of Mars are possible in principle. The minerals that the Rover will collect will be returned to Earth by a special joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA, which will fly to the red planet no earlier than 2026.