NASA’s Perseverance rover is halfway to Mars

Date:28 October 2020 Author: Leila Stein

NASA has announced the Perseverance rover has travelled 235.4 million kilometers on its journey to Mars, marking the halfway point.

This new rover was launched in July and is expected to land on the Martian surface in February 2021.

“Our spacecraft will have just as many miles in its metaphorical rearview mirror as it will out its metaphorical windshield,” said Julie Kangas, a navigator working on the Perseverance rover mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

“Although we’re halfway into the distance we need to travel to Mars, the rover is not halfway between the two worlds. In straight-line distance, Earth is 26.6 million miles [42.7 million kilometers] behind Perseverance and Mars is 17.9 million miles [28.8 million kilometers] in front.”

While en route, the rover isn’t just taking a dormant journey. The mission team back on Earth are checking the spacecraft systems and testing them out to make sure they are ready when the rover lands.

Most recently, the RIMFAX and MOXIE instruments were tested and determined to be in good shape.

“If it is part of our spacecraft and electricity runs through it, we want to confirm it is still working properly following launch,” said Keith Comeaux, deputy chief engineer for the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission. “Between these checkouts – along with charging the rover’s and Mars Helicopter’s batteries, uploading files and sequences for surface operations, and planning for and executing trajectory correction maneuvers – our plate is full right up to landing.”

The Perseverance needs all its systems as it takes on the mission of searching for microbial life on the Red planet, with new technology not found in previous rovers.

Picture: NASA

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