NASA’s Perseverance rover has taken its first check drive on Mars, the company introduced Friday (March 5).
Perseverance, a car-sized rover that landed successfully on the Red Planet Feb. 18, simply made its first brief drive on Thursday, NASA officers stated. The rover moved a complete of 21.three ft (6.5 meters) throughout the Martian terrain on a drive that took about 33 minutes, throughout which Perseverance moved ahead, turned in place and backed up. The rover drives with a prime velocity of .01 miles per hour (.zero16 kilometers).
“Our first drive went extremely nicely,” NASA’s Anais Zarifian, a Perseverance mobility check mattress engineer on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Zarifian added that the rover “works superbly, we have been so excited.”
“That is actually only the start,” Zarifian stated.
Throughout the briefing, mission workforce members additionally introduced that they’re naming Perseverance’s touchdown website in Jezero Crater “Octavia E. Butler Touchdown” after the famed science fiction creator; the primary science fiction creator to obtain the MacArthur Fellowship.
In pictures: NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars
Whereas Perseverance has the identical physique design as NASA’s Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in 2012, enhancements to its mobility system imply that it could possibly drive for for much longer in the identical period of time. Whereas the 2 rovers have the identical prime velocity, Perseverance’s new cameras and improved navigation software program permit it to consider the place it is going whereas in movement.
So, whereas Curiosity needed to basically cease to assume, Perseverance can “stroll and chew gum on the similar time,” Zarifian stated. This permits the rover to cowl extra floor extra rapidly, regardless of having the identical “velocity.”
To arrange for this primary drive, mission workforce members had the rover flip its wheels in place, ensuring they have been displaying their full vary of movement and have been prepared for the brief journey. NASA shared a brief video clip on the rover’s Twitter feed of one of many rover’s wheels turning within the Martian floor as a part of this preparation.
“A fast check of my steering, and issues are trying good as I get able to roll. My workforce and I are eager to get transferring. One step at a time,” Perseverance team members wrote on Twitter.
A fast check of my steering, and issues are trying good as I get able to roll. My workforce and I are eager to get transferring. One step at a time. pic.twitter.com/XSYfT158AQMarch 5, 2021
“So putting to see rover tracks that start from nothing. @NASAPersevere is on the transfer!” Perseverance rover operator and Earth & planetary science Ph.D. candidate Erin Gibbons stated on Twitter alongside a photograph of the tracks the rover made on the Martian floor.
So putting to see rover tracks that start from nothing. @NASAPersevere is on the transfer! pic.twitter.com/zHnxXtK1uLMarch 5, 2021
This primary drive comes as Perseverance checks a handful of different Martian “firsts” off its record, which all appear to be going very nicely.
“Perseverance has been doing an distinctive job in her first two weeks on the pink planet,” Robert Hogg, the rover’s deputy mission supervisor at JPL, stated in the course of the information briefing at the moment.
Amongst these milestones are the rover’s first arm stretch — an necessary first step to getting its robotic arm, a essential asset for sampling and scientific statement, transferring — and the deployment of wind sensors — devices which can be a part of the rover’s climate station, which can monitor air temperature, humidity, radiation, mud and wind.
Rover controllers additionally just lately checked in with the craft’s RIMFAX (Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment) and MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment) devices. The rover has additionally continued to ship again photos of its new, Martian setting again to Earth.
“We’re seeing every kind of textures and rocks which can be round Perseverance’s touchdown website,” Perseverance deputy mission scientist Katie Stack Morgan of JPL advised House.com in the course of the briefing when requested about what mission scientists are already gleaning the rover’s photos.
“However we’re solely simply getting our devices checked out, so these different devices are actually necessary for us to place collectively a mannequin for the way these rocks kind and what their significance is perhaps … we landed in a really fascinating space the place we try to determine the origin of those rocks,” Morgan added.
Perseverance is the crown jewel of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, and can spend its time on the Purple Planet looking for concrete indicators of historic life, together with amassing scientific knowledge to do issues like research the planet’s complicated local weather; the rover may also be finishing know-how experiments like with Ingenuity, the Mars helicopter.
Electronic mail Chelsea Gohd at email@example.com or observe her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Comply with us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Fb.