Washington, United States:
The Mars rover Perseverance has efficiently performed its first take a look at drive on the Purple Planet, the US house company NASA mentioned Friday.
The six-wheeled rover travelled about 6.5 meters (21.3 ft) in 33 minutes on Thursday, NASA mentioned.
It drove 4 meters ahead, turned in place 150 levels to the left, after which backed up 2.5 meters, leaving tire tracks within the Martian mud.
“This was our first likelihood to ‘kick the tires’ and take Perseverance out for a spin,” mentioned Anais Zarifian, Perseverance mobility take a look at mattress engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Zarifian mentioned the take a look at drive went “extremely nicely” and represented a “big milestone for the mission and the mobility group.”
“We will do some longer drives,” she added. “That is just the start.”
NASA engineers mentioned they had been learning doable routes for longer rover voyages on the floor of Mars.
A barely longer journey was deliberate for Friday, and maybe one other Saturday if all goes nicely, NASA mentioned.
The rover can cowl 200 meters per Martian day, which is barely longer than a day on Earth.
And it goes 5 instances sooner than Curiosity, its predecessor, which remains to be functioning eight years after touchdown on Mars.
Perseverance deputy mission supervisor Robert Hogg mentioned engineers had been additionally making ready for the primary flight of a helicopter drone carried by the rover.
Hogg mentioned the rover group was understanding flight zones and hoped to conduct the primary flight in late spring or early summer time.
He mentioned the mission had not skilled any main issues to date.
“It is all simply minor stuff,” he mentioned. “Every thing we have tried has labored superbly.”
Perseverance was launched on July 30, 2020 and landed on the floor of Mars on February 18 on a mission to seek for indicators of previous life on the Purple Planet.
The rover’s main mission will final simply over two years however it’s prone to stay operational nicely past that.
Over the approaching years, Perseverance will try to gather 30 rock and soil samples in sealed tubes to be despatched again to Earth someday within the 2030s for evaluation.
In regards to the measurement of an SUV, the craft weighs a ton, is supplied with a seven-foot-long robotic arm, has 19 cameras, two microphones and a set of cutting-edge devices.
Up to now it has despatched again greater than 7,000 images, together with one in all a light-weight brown rock that was used to check a tool known as SuperCam: an ultra-sophisticated French-made digital camera the scale of a shoe field that may shoot a laser beam at rocks as much as seven meters away to investigate their make-up.
The rover is simply the fifth to set its wheels down on Mars, all of them American. The feat was first achieved in 1997.
The USA is making ready for an eventual human mission to the planet, although planning stays very preliminary.