It’s a small step for a Mars Rover – March 2020 stands on its own six wheels for the first time


This time-lapse video, taken on October 8, 2019, at ">NasaThe Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., Captures the first time that NASA ">March The 2020 rover has carried all of its weight on its legs and wheels.

“After years of design, analysis and testing, it’s fantastic to see the rover on its wheels for the first time,” said Ben Riggs, a mechanical systems engineer working on March 2020 at JPL. “The whole team can’t wait to see her in the same configuration on Mars in the not too distant future.”

The legs of the rover (the black tube visible above the wheels) are made of titanium, while the wheels are made of aluminum. Measuring 20.7 inches (52.5 centimeters) in diameter and machined with traction studs, or studs, the wheels are engineered models that will be replaced by flight models next year. Each wheel has its own motor. The two front wheels and the two rear wheels are also equipped with individual steering motors that allow the vehicle to turn 360 degrees in place.

This time-lapse video, taken on October 8, 2019 at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., Captures the first time the Mars 2020 rover carries all of its weight on its legs and wheels. The rover was pictured in JPL’s Simulator Building, where it underwent weeks of testing. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

When driving over rough terrain, the rover’s “rocker-bogie” suspension system – so called because of its multiple pivot points and struts – maintains a relatively constant weight on each wheel for added stability. Rover drivers avoid terrain that would tip the vehicle over 30 degrees, but even so, the rover can handle a 45-degree tilt in any direction without tipping over. It can also jump over obstacles and through depressions the size of its wheels.

The Mars 2020 rover was pictured in the JPL simulator building, where it underwent weeks of testing, including an in-depth evaluation of how its instruments, systems and subsystems were functioning in the freezing, near-vacuum environment to which it was operating. he will be confronted on Mars.

JPL is building and will manage the operations of the Mars 2020 rover for NASA. The rover will be launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in July 2020 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base. NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is responsible for managing launches.

When the rover lands at Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021, it will be the first spacecraft in planetary exploration history with the ability to accurately retarget its landing point during the landing sequence.

Tasked with bringing astronauts back to the moon by 2024, NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration plans will establish a sustained human presence on and around the moon by 2028. We will use what we learn on the moon for us prepare to send astronauts to Mars.

Interested Kindergarten to Grade 12 students in public, private, and home schools across the United States still have one week to enter the March 2020 Name the Rover Essay Contest. A grand prize winner will name the rover. The contest ends on November 1, 2019.

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