Persistence is armed with many new opportunities and tools to study and test the red planet.
Perseverance collects up to 43 samples of Martian rocks and soil during its two-year mission. These samples will be stored in white tubes on the surface of Martian, which will be returned to Earth in a future planned mission.
Traveling with Persistence to Mars is Engineering, the first helicopter to fly to another planet. This is one of several experiments that will test the technological capabilities during this mission that can be used more in future missions.
Here are some other exciting features of perseverance and how it can help pave the way for man to land on Mars in the future.
Robotic eyes and ears
The “eyes”; of the rover’s high-resolution camera will help “Perseverance” to inspect the landscape, look for intriguing rocks for a sample and decide where to place some of its tools.
Persistence cameras will take pictures during the rover’s “seven-minute terror” as it lands on Mars without any help from its teams on Earth due to the inevitable delay in communication between the two planets.
Although the video will not be available in real time during entry, descent and boarding, it will be available weeks after boarding.
The rover also carries a pair of microphones, and rover teams look forward to feeling the sounds of the rover’s wheels on the surface of Mars and the sound of the wind on Mars.
Another microphone is on the SuperCam, a scientific instrument that ignites a laser in rocks and creates a plasma cloud that can provide the chemical structure of a rock.
“When we fire this laser on Earth, you can hear pop or zap,” said Matt Wallace, deputy project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “The scientific team hopes that the microphone at the top of the mast can learn something about the composition of things that their laser interacts with.”
Sherlock goes to Mars
The Rover robot arm has the scientific capabilities of the 21st century.
The planetary X-ray lithochemistry tool, better known as the PIXL, is a tiny, powerful X-ray that can detect more than 20 chemical elements by directing the beam at a rock. The beam produces a radiant glow associated with each element present in approximately 10 seconds.
Its partner is known as SHERLOC, a short for long-wind housing scanning with Raman and luminescence for organics and chemicals.
SHERLOC can search for organic molecules and minerals, which helps inform scientific teams about where to collect and store samples. Its ultraviolet laser will provide a different glow depending on the organic molecules and minerals it detects.
“These two new opportunities will allow us to explore the size of postage stamps for elementary chemistry and organic molecules,” said Ken Farley, a researcher at the Perseverance Project at the California Institute of Technology. “So we can map this small area and make a microscopic image. It’s a compelling way to find microbial biosignatures.”
SHERLOC also contains five different materials used to make space suits to test how radiation and elements on Mars can agree and affect them for future human researchers.
And where would SHERLOC be without WATSON, a camera that can make microscopic images of grains in rock and textures? WATSON stands for Wide Precision Topography Sensor for Operation and Electronic Engineering.
NASA rover teams will send persistence teams once a day, but the rover will rely on its advanced computer “brains” to help it control the rest of the time.
Compared to previous rovers, persistence has the advantage of a second “brain” installed to help Persistence land on Mars and avoid the dangers that will be transferred as soon as they appear on the surface.
The “brain,” officially known as the Visual Computing Element (VCE), will help it do something called “thinking while moving,” Heather Justice said the downstream operations are on the JPL.
The rover will take pictures and build a map as it moves, identifying obstacles or tilts in the images and deciding what it can drive around or over to determine the way forward.
It’s better than GPS
Perseverance will land on Mars with a new system of relative navigation in the field, which allows the loader to avoid great dangers in the landing zone.
“In past missions, the landing area had to look like a parking lot, completely cleared of debris,” said Andrew Johnson, head of navigation navigation. But in case of persistence “you can place it in craters, steep slopes, rocky fields”.
The sensor, called the visual vision system, takes pictures during the parachute descent. This coincides with the map provided by the images taken out of orbit, creating a guide that can identify craters, mountains and other landmarks.
The system provides safe target selection using its map to rank seats for their safety. The land user can look for the safest place to land or even redirect to a certain place if he finds danger. And all the images collected during the landing will be sent to the team on Earth.
This system could later be used to land humans on the moon as well as on Mars.
This rover has MOXIE
Astronauts exploring Mars will need oxygen, but mapping enough to support them on a spaceship is not viable.
Perseverance will be a spacecraft called MOXIE, or an experiment to use Mars ‘oxygen resources to convert Mars’ abundant carbon dioxide into oxygen that astronauts will need to breathe. Oxygen will also be needed for fuel.
With MOXIE, “you don’t have to take 27 metric tons of oxygen to Mars to take them home,” said Mike Hecht, MOXIE’s chief investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
A small MOXIE experiment will involve and convert carbon dioxide into oxygen for several hours a month or two missions, using approximately daily energy on a rover. It produces only about 10 grams of oxygen per hour – enough for half a person, Gecht said.
The MOXIE team will use the lessons to develop a larger and more powerful manned mission system.
“If a bunch of Mark Watney is going to risk his life, we’d better make sure it works,” Gecht said, referring to the main character in Andy Weir’s novel The Martian.
Weather and environment monitoring
Understanding the weather and environment on Mars will be crucial in determining the conditions that astronauts face.
Therefore, the rover has its own monitoring system. The Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer, called MEDA, is a set of sensors on a rover to study the science of weather, dust, and radiation and how they change during the Martian seasons.
This tool will characterize the planet’s environment outside the weather – including variables such as temperature, pressure and wind – and will gain a better understanding of solar radiation on the surface, says Manuel de la Torre Juarez, deputy chief investigator of MEDA. The instrument was assisted by a team from the Center for Astrobiology in Madrid.
The temperature on Mars can vary by as much as 80 or 90 degrees between day and night. Understanding surface radiation will tell scientists how much the sun heats the air, causing wind and temperature changes. They could also understand more about the water cycle of Mars.
Peeks under the surface
For the first time, the ground mission will include a ground-based radar device called RIMFAX or Radar Imager for an underground Mars experiment. He will be able to look beneath the surface and study Martian geology, looking for layers of rock, ice and boulders.
Scientists hope that RIMFAX will help them understand the geological history of Craser Lake, according to David Page, chief researcher of the experiment at the University of California, Los Angeles.
In the future, RIMFAX or its version can be used by astronauts to search for water under the surface.
“One of the most useful things we can find is ice under the surface,” Paige said. “This is likely to be included in future paratroopers and scooters or aircraft looking for resources.”
Along with a set of tools and experiments on Perseverance, more pieces will be added to complete the Mars puzzle.
“Rover missions are designed as situational comedies with an ensemble,” Paige said. “Each member has a role to play that contributes to common science and addresses a range of issues. Our main goal is, ‘Thank you, good thing we brought RIMFAX with us.'”