NASA’s Perseverance rover’s new wheels can grip and higher face up to rocks

NASA’s Perseverance rover’s new wheels can grip and higher face up to rocks

NASA’s new Mars rover, Perseverance, nears completion as it’s fitted with new wheels and an enormous air brake parachute.

The rover had its wheels fitted for the primary time final 12 months, however these had been engineering mannequin wheels that are used for becoming and testing, akin to checking whether or not the rover might stand by itself wheels and take its personal weight. With that testing now full, the NASA crew might take away the mannequin wheels and substitute them with the true wheels that the rover will run on when it reaches Mars.


Three of the six flight wheels that may journey to Mars may be seen connected to NASA’s Perseverance rover (which is inverted on a dealing with fixture) on March 30, 2020 on the Kennedy House Heart in Florida. The protecting antistatic foil protecting the wheels will probably be eliminated earlier than launch this summer time. NASA

Perseverance has barely totally different wheels than NASA’s different Mars rover, Curiosity. Perseverance’s wheels are barely bigger in diameter, at 52.6 centimeters (20.7 inches) versus 50.8 centimeters, and are additionally barely narrower. Curiosity’s wheels have 24 broadly spaced treads in a chevron sample, which prevents the rover from slipping sideways because it strikes throughout unstable surfaces like sand because it climbs up the winding path of Mount Sharp.


Perseverance, however, has wheels with 48 gently curved treads which might be spaced intently collectively, which NASA engineers have discovered give the identical quantity of grip because the chevron sample however can higher face up to strain from sharp rocks. Curiosity has had points with small breaks in a few of its wheels, and though the wheels ought to nonetheless work for the lifetime of the rover, the newer design ought to forestall this type of put on and tear.

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A brand new parachute

Along with the wheels, the rover has additionally had one other very important element built-in: Its parachute, which is able to sluggish the rover’s descent onto Mars and assist it contact down onto the planet’s floor gently with out damaging any of the fragile parts. The Perseverance rover would be the heaviest payload ever deployed on Mars, so the parachute cover fabricated from nylon, Technora, and Kevlar fiber must be very giant — 70.5 ft broad — to sluggish the complete weight of 2260 kilos of the rover from Mach 1.7 to 200 mph.

Launch of the rover is scheduled for between July 17 and August 5 this 12 months.

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