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NASA Reveals Mars 2020 Already Landed on Mars Several Times During Simulations

There’s not much time left until humanity’s newest and most advanced rover is sent to Mars to both unravel its secrets and prepare the way for human arrival. On February 18, 2021, the rover will land in the Jezero Crater, but until then it practices its first encounter with the reddish dust of the planet in California.
Mars 2020 rover backshell 3 photos
NASA testing Mars 2020 Rover landing systemsNASA testing Mars 2020 Rover landing systems
According to Heather Bottom, systems engineer for the Mars 2020 mission, the rover has already landed several times in simulations during two weeks of trials back in January, inside the High Bay 1 cleanroom in JPL's Spacecraft Assembly Facility in Pasadena.

The main target of the tests was to see how the tens of thousands of individual components work in sync to make the landing a success. That’s because when it lands, the rover will have to make perform about 27,000 actions and calculations to get things right.

"It was our first chance to exercise the flight software we will fly on 2020 with the actual spacecraft components that will be heading to Mars - and make sure they not only operate as expected but also interact with each other as expected," said Bottom in a statement.

Mars 2020 is a temporary name given to the successor rover of the Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity. It is the size of an average car, measuring 10 feet long (3 meters), 9 feet wide (2.7 meters), and 7 feet tall (2.2 meters).

The rover will carry with it to the Red Planet seven instruments, which will be used to perform an array of missions never attempted before.

The rover will document the mineralogy of the Martian surface, will detect the presence of organic compounds in its search for extra-terrestrial life, and, most importantly, it will produce oxygen from Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide.

As a side mission, the rover will pick-up and store rock samples in canisters placed in strategic areas to be picked up by future missions and returned to Earth.

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