To casual observers, landing a rover on Mars can seem quite like old news, believe it or not. Especially in any case of NASA’s successes. But many are likely not alert to the so-called ‘Mars Curse. ‘the very fact is, many of the spacecraft that plan to land there fail and crash.
The next challenge for the Mars Curse is NASA’s Perseverance rover. It is going to land at Jezero Crater on February 18th. To surpass the Mars, curse the people at NASA have given the Perseverance rover some useful tools to urge it to the Martian surface safely.
The Perseverance rover is landing at Jezero Crater because NASA thinks they will do the simplest science there. The mission’s goal is to hunt signs of ancient life and collect samples for a possible return to Earth. Jezero Crater is an ancient, dried-up paleo-lakebed. It holds both preserved sediments and a delta. consistent with NASA, the crater is one among the “oldest and most scientifically interesting landscapes Mars has got to offer.” Scientists think that if there’s any fossilized evidence of ancient life, they’ll find it at Jezero.
But it’s also hazardous to land in.
Jezero crater is 28 miles away send in that area the rover could encounter tons of potential hazards: hills, rock fields, dunes, the walls of the crater itself” said Andrew Johnson, principal robotics systems engineer at NASA’s reaction propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. It might be very dangerous to the entire mission if the landing is happened on one among those hazards.
Till now 60% of the spacecraft sent to Mars got failed. Perseverance will use the technology known as ‘Terrain Relative Navigation” (TRN), which used to first utilize in cruise missiles, to avoid that very same failure. In broad terms, TRN will make use of two elements: an onboard map of the landing area with elevations and hazards, and a navigation camera. As Perseverance approaches its landing ellipse, the camera compares its real-time images with the onboard map and commands the lander’s rockets to direct the craft faraway from known hazards.
Overall, the rover’s autonomous landing system is understood as ‘landing visions system,’ or LVS.
LVS will use the position information for Mars 2020 mission to work out where the rover is going to be safe between those hazards. And in one among those safe spots is where the rover will land,” Johnson explained during a handout.
This type of system has been under development for a few time now. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid and sample return mission used one of its sample-collection maneuver at asteroid Bennu. That system was called Natural Feature Tracking (NFT) and it effectively guided the spacecraft right down to Bennu’s boulder-littered surface. OSIRIS-REx’s mission was successful, and therefore the samples should arrive on Earth in September 2023. But a system like Perseverance’s doesn’t come without tons of diligence and time interval. It’s been in development for several years, and hopefully, all that development and testing can pay off.
For Mars 2020 at JPL Swati Mohan is leading the guidance, navigation, and control operations. the primary two stages of testing were hardware and simulation, and that they were both wiped out a lab. within the handout, Mohan said, That’s where we test every condition and variable we will. We put the hardware through its paces to cope up with the vacuum, vibration, temperature, electrical compatibility.
Once the hardware has been subjected to all or any that scrutiny, it’s time for simulations. We developed the simulation model for different scenarios that the software algorithms may encounter on Mars – a too-sunny day, very dark day, windy day – and that we confirm the system behaves needless to say no matter those conditions, Mohan said.
Completing all the tasks the system was ready for flight tests. But not autonomously. Instead, it had been tested on a helicopter, where it had been accustomed estimate the helicopter’s altitude and position.
The system could monitor a good range of terrain as it gives us the particular level of technical readiness, but it didn’t have an equivalent quite descent that Perseverance will have,” said Johnson. It is also necessary to determine the system LVS on a rocket. The LVS system was tested repeatedly within the field on a rocket. The Masten Space System Xombie rocket, served as a test-bed for LVS starting in 2014 and NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program funded those tests.
The LVS system is complex. Not only can it guide the Perseverance rover to the surface, but it can do so within the most fuel-efficient fashion. Fuel for the lander’s rockets is restricted, obviously, so there’s really just one chance to urge it right. Altogether, the system was tested successfully and is now only days far away from the important deal: the landing at Jezero Crater.
Real world is usually different than simulations as after all the tests on the autonomous system are still giving you surprises, and though NASA is confident within the system, they’ll still be able to respond and adapt to any problems or changing conditions. “Real life can always throw you curve balls. So, we’ll be monitoring everything during the cruise phase, checking power to the camera, ensuring the info is flowing needless to say,” Mohan said.