Space

NASA is testing the separation of the descent stages of the Mars 2020 rover

When the Mars 2020 mission starting very soon, inWithin the framework of which the rover is planned to be sent to the fourth planet of the Solar System, will enter 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 successfully land on the planet's surface and begin its 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.

The landing of the Mars 2020 rover will look something like this

How to plant a rover?

At the moment, American expertsaerospace agencies 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 will have to lookas follows: 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, which will not only reflect heat from entering the atmosphere at the time of deceleration, but will also give the device some lift, allowing it to maneuver. When the speed decreases due to this, a number of parachutes will slow down the fall even more.

See also: NASA will send a helicopter to Mars. What is it for?

According to calculations, after spacethe aircraft will reset its cruising step 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 hold the roverand the launching step together was an all-day affair, ”says Ryan Van Shilifgaard, engineer for the rover assembly team for the Mars 2020 mission. Now that the tests are finished, the launching step and the rover will“ meet ”only at Cape Canaveral next spring during assembly before launch apparatus.

Tests of the rover descent mechanisms

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 JPL testsof 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.