34

The video shows only tests within the clean room on smooth clean test floors. The vibration test at first should simulate the conditions during launch. Drive tests on a simulated Martian rough and dirty surface on Earth (see JPL Mars Yard) are not done with the version built for the Mars surface. The flight-ready version is built in a clean room and only ...


22

Yes, they could theoretically communicate with each other over the DSN, however in practice this will not happen (as it has no current uses). The amount of functions that Curiosity can perform autonomously is very limited and predetermined. It usually involves some sort of deterministic operation such as moving a rover arm or performing a drill sample (...


21

Hobbes' answer explains why live broadcast is currently not feasible from the Mars side. I'd like to complement it with why this is currently not feasible from the Earth side. Mars power budgets are not generous, so by the time spacecraft transmissions get back to Earth they are incredibly faint. The only equipment used to reliably receive these signals is ...


15

Faster? No. The speeds of all Mars rovers so far have been limited by the navigation software or the available electrical power, not by physical capability. Spirit and Opportunity were both physically capable of driving more than 2000 meters per day, but rarely actually traveled more than 60. Curiosity is capable of moving 2200 meters per day, but can ...


15

2kW is not that much on Earth You've mentioned radiation and convection in your answer (you forgot conduction). Turns out the properties of Earth's atmosphere make conduction and convection way better than radiation for moving heat around. For an illustration, consider the size of a portable, 2kW, oil-filled radiator: this one lists the size as ...


12

The JPL Mars Helicopter Scout transmitter can send data at up to 250 kb/s, an order of magnitude short for HD video. Communications with the rover are through a radio link called Zig-Bee, a standard 900 MHz chipset that will be mounted in both the rover and helicopter.[10] The communication system is designed to relay data at 250 kb/s over distances of ...


10

Edit - added more detail on the specific geological interests per the question revision Selection Process This letter to Dr Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program, gives a synopsis of the assessments and findings at the February 2017 workshop. The workshop aimed to narrow the shortlist of landing site candidates from 8 to 3. Five ...


10

The rover already has a core drill for this purpose: it drills through the top layers and exposes the rock underneath. The big advantage of a drill over a shovel is that a drill can go through (most) rock types, whereas a shovel can only scrape off loose rubble. A shovel is an imprecise instrument: you run a straight edge over the soil. The depth of that ...


10

Partial answer because I learned a new word. The lines / treads on the wheels are called "grousers" and they are indeed wavy. Why: Extensive testing in JPL's Mars Yard has shown these treads better1 withstand the pressure from sharp rocks but work just as well on sand. (from the 1st link) 1In comparison to Mars Science Laboratory's wheel design


9

The MAHLI camera of Curiosity may focus from infinity down to only 18.3 mm working distance. At minimal distance the resolution is 13.9 µm per pixel. It may image objects of some tens of meters in size down to only 22 by 17 mm. The Sherloc camera of the Mars 2020 Rover has a similar minimal object size of 23 by 15 mm. A microscope with a magnification of ...


9

MASTCAM-Z uses the KAI-2020 sensor Sensor Data Sheet which can be read out at 18-35 Hz frame rate. The camera has 8 GB of flash memory that can be used to store video before it's trickled over to the rover computer and then scheduled for downlink. NASA Mars 2020 MASTCAM-Z Description. This is not a standard mode for the camera, but it would be possible for ...


9

The helicopter and the deployment assembly are protected by a "debris shield" which is only dropped shortly before helicopter deployment. This shield is formed out of carbon fiber and fully encompasses the entire helicopter and deployment assembly. The upper lip of this bucket- or violin-case like shield is pressed against the bottom panel of Perseverance's ...


8

This NASA page says that the wheels are: Made of aluminum, with cleats for traction and curved titanium spokes for springy support. The curved part running ~60 degrees along the rim isn't quite in contact with it. It will act as a spring with a hard stop. Having the spring effect in this direction should allow the wheel to remain reasonably aligned even ...


7

Edit: added 4th bullet. Mars exploration is not limited by how much dirt we can move quickly. It is limited by: the necessity to understand what we're looking at, so we can make sense of the data we receive the necessity to get data in the correct context, by working systematically: first understand the surface, then drill so we can see what's ...


7

It's running VxWorks, at least according to Wikipedia, and in fact there is a direct statement to this effect here (PDF link): The M2020 flight software runs on the VxWorks operating system, and is written in C. VxWorks is what pretty much all the US landers have run, and it's still, I think, the obvious choice: it's a very mature, very tested system.


6

No, Perseverance will not drive for months with the helicopter stowed on its underside. From the Surface Phase of the Mars 2020 Perseverance Launch Press Kit I got the information below. The first 30 sols after landing will be a commissioning phase within which the rover will perform a short drive test. After that Perseverance will need to find a flat area ...


6

It is deliberate choice. See this tweet from Tory Bruno, CEO of ULA who is launching the mission. This of course doesn't tell us the exact reasoning behind the date, however. Why this is is actually quite a bit more complex. JPL published a paper on this very subject recently. There are a number of factors to picking a launch date. For Perseverance, as with ...


6

This NASA page describes the landing site selection process: At the third landing site workshop for the Mars 2020 rover mission on Feb. 8-10, 2017, a team of scientists narrowed down the list of potential places where NASA's Mars 2020 rover may land. Three sites were selected to continue as landing site candidates: Columbia Hills, Jezero Crater, NE Syrtis. ...


5

Mars Helicopter Scout is "just" a demonstration mission to show that it is possible to operate an airborne vehicle on Mars. It has very limited capabilities, such as the total weight of only 1.8 kg. the helicopter is just an additional feature, but nothing like an integral part of the mission. Slamming 2 kg of material on top of a rover with delicate ...


5

Would not a circular saw on one arm and a trowel on another on the Mars 2020 rover add scientific value? Every different type of thing you can do has "scientific value", even if it proves that it's not a good idea something is learned; it just that it's less expensive to learn that on Earth. A circular saw on a telescopic arm with the ability to cut into ...


5

Unfortunateley no direct answer for the Mass Rover, but for space craft overall by using the Rosetta Lander (Philae) as an example: I was listening to a presentation of the Rosetta Lander Mechanical Engineering Team Leader some years ago. He spoke about "dead mass" on the Lander. So as far Philae is concerned. It was not like they have been happy about ...


5

The Mars 2020 rover uses a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator for power, so it doesn’t have any solar panels. It looks like the helicopter has its solar panel on top of the rotor. Flight vibrations will likely remove dust sufficiently. The helicopter may be able to remove dust from the rover for other reasons, but the main concern there is avoiding ...


5

TL;DR: No, rovers do not remain in constant contact with the Earth since it is impractical to do so, and it's unlikely that any mission will attempt to do so in the future. Generally, there are a few constraints on communication that make it difficult and impractical to be in constant communication with the Earth, the main ones being line-of-sight, power, ...


5

According to my extensive research on the topic, Mars 2020 is the name of the mission; Mars 2020 is to MSL as Perseverance is to Curiosity, but the Mars 2020 mission also includes the Ingenuity drone, which had no parallel in MSL. I don't see any references to a "science laboratory" on the Mars 2020 page.


5

I found this article for the 2012 Curiosity rover launch which stated that NASA Television will be broadcasting live coverage of Curiosity's landing on Aug. 5 beginning at 8 p.m. EDT (I also found this video showing the mission control room during the landing but I don't know if that was shown live) So, I suppose that it is probable that we will see live ...


4

There's several reasons why the JPL Mars Helicopter Scout would not be well-suited for this sort of mission: Its designed flight time is 90 seconds, once per day, which doesn't leave a lot of time for non-primary tasks. Even if dusting off solar panels was its only task, 90 seconds isn't a lot of time to do it. It is designed to fly a total of five times, ...


4

According to this specs page, Mars 2020 Rover will have three kinds of antenna: Ultra-High Frequency Antenna, X-band High-Gain Antenna, X-band Low-Gain Antenna. The one used to send data to Earth are the first two: UHF and the High Gain antenna, the Low Gain Antenna is used for receving data from Earth and it is the slowest of all. UHF has transmission ...


4

Here they are, from the letter summarizing the results of the 2015 workshop: The ancient habitable environment column sounds like what you're looking for.


4

There are some issues I have with using an intelligent bulldozer for exploration work on Mars. Firstly, a bulldozer would be heavy and thus expensive to get to Mars. We don't know how competent the regolith on Mars is in various locations. If the bulldozer isn't strong enough it will achieve little. A bulldozer might work well if the top of the bedrock is ...


4

I think the reasons for caches, and for multiple caches are twofold. Firstly, a fairly likely end-state of a rover is that it gets stuck somewhere horrible, and in particular it gets stuck somewhere you really do not want to be landing something near. That means that the rover needs not to carry its samples with it: if it does, then if it gets stuck, then ...


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