NASA prepares Earth twin for endurance Mars rover

NASA prepares Earth twin for endurance Mars rover

Did you know that NASA’s next Mars rover has nearly identical siblings on Earth for testing? Even better, it rolls through the cloned Martian landscape for the first time.


As NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance rushes through space towards the Red Planet, the twins of the six-wheeled vehicle are ready to roll off here on Earth.

A full-fledged engineering version of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, equipped with wheels, cameras and powerful computers to aid in autonomous driving, has just moved to a garage home at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Southern California. This rover model passed its first run tests on September 1 in a relatively tamed warehouse-like assembly room at JPL. Engineers expect next week a reddish field of rocks and other obstacles will be taken to the Mars Yard, which simulates Red. The surface of the planet.

The full-fledged engineering model of NASA’s endurance Mars rover is now in a garage facing the Mars Yard at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Southern California. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“Perseverance’s mobility team can’t wait to finally drive our test rovers out,” said Anais Zarifian, JPL’s mobility test bed engineer. “This is the closest test robot to simulate real mission tasks. Perseverance will experience it on Mars. Wheels, eyes and brains all put together, this rover will be especially fun.”

Wait, why do you need twins for patience?

Patience is not about flying to Mars as a mechanic. To avoid as many unexpected problems as possible after the rovers landed on February 18, 2021, the team should have this Earth Perimeter Vehicle System Test Bed (VSTB) rover before the hardware and software send commands until Perseverance on. You can measure if it is done. Mars. This rover model is especially useful for completing a full set of software tests, so teams can send patches while Perseverance is on their way to Mars or after landing.

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Engineers test-drive twins of NASA’s endurance Mars rover for the first time in a warehouse-like assembly room at the institution’s jet propulsion lab in Southern California. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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And just as Perseverance has the proper name-the name that captured the effort to move the plagued rover to Mars-the twins also bear the name OPTIMISM. OPTIMISM is an acronym for the Operational Perseverance Twin for Integration of Mechanisms and Instruments Sent to Mars, but the name nods to the team’s mantra that took two years to plan and assemble.

“The motto of the Mars 2020 Perseverance testbed team is’optimism is not allowed,’” said Matt Stumbo, head of VSTB Rover for the testbed team. “So we named our test rover OPTIMISM to remind us what we need to do to fully test the system. Our mission is to find the problem. ExpectationThe activity works. By solving problems with OPTIMISM, you gain confidence in Perseverance’s abilities and confidence in his ability to work on Mars. ”

Almost the same

OPTIMISM is almost the same as Perseverance. It has the same size, the same mobility system and top driving speed (0.094mph or 0.15kph) and features the same “head” known as a remote sensing mast. At the beginning of the new year, after going through a second build phase, you will have the entire suite of scientific instruments, cameras and computer “brains” Perseverance has. Unique system for collecting rock and soil samples.

However, OPTIMISM lives in JPL, so there are also differences on earth. One reason is patience Multi-mission radioactive isotope thermoelectric generator(A type of nuclear battery that has reliably supplied power to space missions since the 1960s) OPTIMISM features an umbilical cord that can be plugged for power. The code also provides an Ethernet connection, allowing the mission team to send commands to OPTIMISM and receive engineering data back without having to install the wireless devices they use for communication. Perseverance comes with a heating system to keep you warm in Martian cold environments, while OPTIMISM relies on a cooling system to operate in hot Southern California summers.

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Mars rover twin
Technicians move the engineering version of the Perseverance Mars Rover to a new home in Mars Yard, part of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Southern California. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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Welcome to the family

OPTIMISM isn’t JPL’s only VSTB rover. NASA’s Curiosity Mars probe, which has been exploring Mars since landing in 2012, tying (Mars Automation Giant Gizmo for Integrated Engineering). MAGGIE is helping the Curiosity team with a strategy for driving across particularly challenging terrain. Drilling rocks.

OPTIMISM and MAGGIE live side-by-side in Mars Yard and offer JPL engineers the first two garages.

Stumbo said, “A mission in operation requires a fidelity replica of the system for testing.” “The Curiosity Mission learned a lesson from MAGGIE that we couldn’t learn any other way. Now that we have OPTIMISM, the patience mission is well prepared to learn what it takes to succeed on Mars.”

Patience of rover xenobiology The mission is to find traces of ancient microbes. It will also be the first planetary mission to characterize the planet’s climate and geology, pave the way for humans to explore the red planet, and collect and store Martian rocks and Legolis (broken rocks and dust). A follow-up mission, currently under consideration by NASA in cooperation with the European Space Agency, sends a spacecraft to Mars to collect cached samples from the surface and return to Earth for further analysis.

The Mars 2020 mission is part of a larger program that includes missions to the moon as a way to prepare for human exploration of Mars. NASA, tasked with returning astronauts to the moon by 2024, will establish a lasting human presence on and around the moon by 2028 through NASA. Artemis moon exploration plan.

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Managed for NASA at Caltech in Pasadena, California, JPL builds and manages the operations of the patience and curiosity rover.

Learn more about Mars 2020 missions at:

https://www.nasa.gov/perseverance

News Media Contact

Jia-Rui Cook / DC Agle
Jet Propulsion Lab, Pasadena, CA
818-354-0724 / 818-393-9011
[email protected] / [email protected]

Alana Johnson / Gray Tombstone
NASA headquarters, Washington
202-358-1501 / 202-358-0668
[email protected] / [email protected]

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