Technology: NASA spacecraft takes a dip to prep for Mars 2020 rover landing - PressFrom - US

TechnologyNASA spacecraft takes a dip to prep for Mars 2020 rover landing

12:31  12 february  2019
12:31  12 february  2019 Source:

Mars InSight deploys French-made quake sensor on Red Planet

Mars InSight deploys French-made quake sensor on Red Planet The US space agency's unmanned Mars Insight lander, which touched down on the Red Planet last month, has successfully deployed its key, quake-sensing instrument on the alien world's surface, NASA said Thursday. The seismometer, known as the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS, was made by the French space agency, CNES. "Seismometer deployment is as important as landing InSight on Mars," said InSight principal investigator Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "The seismometer is the highest-priority instrument on InSight: We need it in order to complete about three-quarters of our science objectives.

NASA Announces Landing Site for Mars 2020 Rover . After a five-year search, NASA has chosen Jezero Crater as the landing site for its upcoming Mars 2020 rover mission.Read More >. New: Learn about the Mars 2020 instruments from A-Z. Take a deep dive into detailed descriptions about

Entry, Descent, and Landing System: The Mars 2020 spacecraft follows an entry, descent, landing process similar to Selecting a landing site this early allows the rover drivers and science operations team to optimize their plans for exploring Jezero Crater once the rover is safely on the ground.

NASA spacecraft takes a dip to prep for Mars 2020 rover landing© CNET

An artist's concept of the Mars 2020 rover on the Red Planet.

In preparation for the launch of its next Mars rover, NASA is undertaking some quick, interplanetary KonMari.

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft has been orbiting Mars since September 2014, occasionally dipping into the Martian atmosphere to study how it has changed over time. However, NASA wants to load up the orbiter with an important new job: operating as a communications relay for the Mars 2020 rover mission. To do so, they're going to tidy up its orbit just a little.

The Mars InSight robot just placed its first instrument on Mars’ surface

The Mars InSight robot just placed its first instrument on Mars’ surface NASA's Mars InSight mission is moving along at a rapid pace. After landing on the planet just a few weeks ago, InSight has spent its days observing its new living space and sending back photos of the ground surrounding it. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); NASA’s InSight team has been practicing the tricky task of placing the robot’s sensitive instruments on the surface.

NASA ’s Mars 2020 rover mission will look for signs of past life, cache rock samples and prepare the way for human exploration. The mission takes the next step by not only seeking signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past, but also searching for signs of past microbial life itself.

The Mars 2020 mission will use the next generation of science and landing technology to collect rock samples for possible return by a future mission. Both of these stages have recently moved into JPL's Spacecraft Assembly Facility. This artist's rendition depicts NASA 's Mars 2020 rover studying a

"The MAVEN spacecraft has done a phenomenal job teaching us how Mars lost its atmosphere and providing other important scientific insights on the evolution of the Martian climate," said Jim Watzin, director of NASA's Mars Exploration Program.

In the past, MAVEN has been called on to relay signals from NASA's Curiosity rover, but for it to help with the upcoming Mars 2020 mission, NASA is going to move it even closer to the Martian surface, boosting its ability to beam signals home. The new orbit will put MAVEN within 2,800 miles (around 4,500 kilometres) of the surface, increasing the frequency of the spacecraft's orbiter from 5.3 orbits per Earth day to 6.8. That will allow it to check in with any land-based rovers more frequently.

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The MAVEN spacecraft today is starting a campaign to tighten its orbit around Mars to prepare to serve as a data-relay satellite On nine previous occasions throughout the mission, MAVEN engineers have dipped the orbiter into the same altitude NASA Announces Landing Site for Mars 2020 Rover .

The Mars 2020 rover mission has new entry, descent, and landing (EDL) technologies: Range Trigger The Range Trigger technique shrinks the Mars 2020 rovers landing ellipse significantly, landing the rover Mars 2020 will be landing in a different location. Credit: NASA /JPL-Caltech.

To get into the new orbit, NASA will use the upper Martian atmosphere as a set of brakes, with the atmospheric drag slowing the craft down ever so slightly with each transit around the Red Planet. Dipping to around 78 miles of the planet will get MAVEN into position, ready to play relay by the time the new rover lands, while still performing its science missions of studying the Martian atmosphere.

The planned 2020 rover mission will see a brand new robot land in Jezero Crater on a mission to find signs of life. Jezero is a site that once featured an ancient river delta, so there's a chance it may have preserved traces of ancient microbial life within the soil. The rover will also feature 23 cameras and a suite of scientific instruments to measure the atmosphere, geology and search for water. NASA has also made plans to launch a helicopter-like drone as part of the rover's payload.

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NASA Mars 2020 Rover - overview, videos, images and information. Potential landing sites for the Mars 2020 rover could change as mission science and engineering considerations evolve. Mawrth Vallis: A Mysterious Water Source. Orbiting spacecraft take pictures that show the sources of Martian

Mars 2020 is a Mars rover mission by NASA 's Mars Exploration Program with a planned launch in July or August 2020 . It will investigate an astrobiologically relevant ancient environment on Mars and

NASA spacecraft takes a dip to prep for Mars 2020 rover landing© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. mavenaerobrakingdiagram

The European Space Agency will also be sending their ExoMars Rover to the Red Planet in 2020. On Feb. 7, the agency announced the rover would be named Rosalind Franklin, after the pioneering DNA researcher. Franklin will likely land in Oxia Planum, a flat plain rich in iron-magnesium clays.

In much more devastating news, NASA's Opportunity rover still hasn't phoned home since a brutal dust storm swept over Mars in June 2018. The plucky little rover survived on Martian soil for 15 years, well exceeding the 90 days its original mission was scheduled for. It's getting more and more likely we won't hear from Opportunity again.

However, granted the mission proceeds smoothly, the Red Planet will welcome another two robotic explorers next year, joining NASA's Curiosity and InSight lander.

NASA lost contact with two mini Mars spacecraft and they don’t know exactly why.
NASA's Mars InSight mission is moving along nicely, with the robotic lander preparing for many months of research that will tell scientists more about the interior of the planet than ever. 

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