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 ...


19

I asked one of the copter's engineers, Matt Keennon, what the hole in that one leg's foot was for. He replied that it's only for stowage. ... because of the odd way the copter is held in place under the rover, with all sorts of mechanical constraints from the rover, that one leg could not be held down by a simple lever pressing on the leg strut, so instead ...


17

14 years is the design lifetime for the MMRTGs. The thermocouples do degrade over time while exposed to the high temperatures of the hot side and the temperature changes of the cold side. The output power of the RTGs drops over time by degradation, design lifetime ends when there is too few power left. But many RTGs did work better than conservative lifetime ...


16

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 ...


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

I really hope it won't be able to detect Hope, that's orbiting Mars, not landing on it. InSight was actually made to detect these impacts, as it can help one to understand more about Mars. Fundamentally a heat shield impacting is just a particularly dense meteor. I think it is likely it will detect Perseverance. The two are fairly close. Specifically it ...


13

This is an addendum to @Uwe's answer. RTG lifetime is a topic of much discussion in the planetary science community, and in particular the MMRTG being currently the only available RTG. MMRTGs decay much faster than GPHS-RTGs (see my comment to Uwe's answer), with an output power half-life of a bit over 16 years, the result of both Pu decay and unicouple ...


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 ...


11

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


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

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

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 ...


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

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 ...


5

There are two parts to this question. The first is, can it physically keep up? As you mentioned, the range of 300 m per flight is specifically stated. From this page, we can deduce that one 90 second flight per day will cover the 300 meter distance. No doubt some of that power will be reserved for the first few seconds of flight, but it seems quite likely ...


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