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NASA spacecraft takes a dip to prep for the March 2020 rover landing



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An artist's concept for the Mars 2020 rover on the red planet.


NASA / JPL-Caltech

In preparation for the launch of its next Mars rover, NASA performs some fast, interplanetary Konari .

The spacecraft Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) has tied about Mars since September 2014, occasionally immersing in the martial atmosphere to study how it has changed over time. But NASA wants to charge the orbit with an important new job: acting as a communication relay to the March 2020 rover mission. To do this, they will just clean up their path.

"The MAVEN spacecraft has done a phenomenal job that teaches us how Mars lost its atmosphere and provided other important scientific insights on the development of the Martian climate," said Jim Watzin, director of NASA's Mars Exploration Program.

Previously, MAVA has been called upon to relay signals from NASA's Curiosity Rover, but to help with the upcoming March 2020 mission, NASA will move it even closer to the Mars surface and increase its radiance capability. signals home. The new lane sets the MAV within 2,800 miles (about 4,500 kilometers) of the surface, increasing the frequency of the spacecraft's orbits from 5.3 cycles per square meter. Soil day to 6.8. It will allow you to check in with any land-based robber more often.

To enter the new course, NASA will use the upper martial atmosphere as a set of brakes, with the atmospheric feature that slows the vessel down so little with each transit around the red planet. Dipping to about 78 miles of the planet will come in the MAV in place, ready to play relays when the new rover lands while still performing its scientific missions to study the martial atmosphere.

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NASA will conduct an aerobraking campaign during the following months to tighten MVEN circuits and prepare for the March 2020 roaming landing.


NASA's Scientific Visualization Study / Kel Elkins / Dan Gallagher

The planned 2020 rover mission will see a brand new robot land in Jezero Crater on a mission to find signs of life. Jezero is a site that once highlighted an ancient river delta so there is a chance that it may have retained traces of the ancient microbial life in the earth. The rover will also have 23 cameras and a number of scientific instruments to measure the atmosphere, geology and search for water. NASA also plans to launch a helicopter-like drone as part of the rover's payload.

The European Space Agency also sends their ExoMars Rover to the Red Planning by 2020. On February 7, the agency announced the Rover would be named Rosalind Franklin after the groundbreaking DNA researcher. Franklin will probably land in Oxia Planum a plain plain rich in iron-magnesium clay.

In much more devastating news, NASA's Opportunity Rover still hasn't called home since a brutal dust storm swept over Mars in June 2018. The nice little rover survived on martian soil for 15 years, well over the 90 days the original mission was planned for. It is increasingly likely that we will not hear from Opportunity again.

But the granted mission continues smoothly, the Red Planet will welcome another two robot explorers next year coming to NASA's curiosity and InSight farmer.

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