At the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, NASA’s Mars Perseverance is currently gaining critical prelaunch milestones. A couple of components were previously removed from the six-wheeler before being shipped from the laboratory to Cape Canaveral one month ago.
NASA’s Perseverance rover received two new instruments
Last week, the test and launch operations team implemented two extra components, which are crucial in the return process of Earth’s first samples from another planet: the Adaptive Caching Assembly and the Bit Carousel.
Installed on March 7, the Bit Carousel’s purpose is storing Martian rock and dust. The Adaptive Caching Assembly, installed on March 3, is composed of seven motors with 3000 pieces, all working in synchrony to collect the samples. The key component is the Sample Handling Arm, which distributes, stores, and seals the filled sample tubes in a specially designed area inside the robot.
The machine was tested on March 11, including electrical wiring for the Adaptive Caching Assembly and Bit Carousel. Since it was a success, the machine will probably be launched in space as it was previously planned.
The Perseverance rover should launch this summer, as initially scheduled
At this moment, the directors do not foresee any delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic. An essential element that must be attached to the robot is represented by the sample tubes, which will later bring back on Earth the first outer space material. The construction process will probably take several months.
NASA’s Perseverance rover weighs 1043 Kilograms and is built to search and collect samples from Mars to shed more light on the planet’s climate and geology, which will further be returned to Earth. It is the core of human exploration on the Red Planet. Its launch in space is scheduled between July 17 and August 5. It should reach Mars’ Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021.