Astronomy:Mars rover

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Mark Rober's[1] conception of the Curiosity rover on Mars. The rover landed on the planet in August 2012.

A Mars rover is a motor vehicle that travels across the surface of the planet Mars upon arrival. Rovers have several advantages over stationary landers: they examine more territory, they can be directed to interesting features, they can place themselves in sunny positions to weather winter months, and they can advance the knowledge of how to perform very remote robotic vehicle control.

(As of May 2021), there have been six successful robotically operated Mars rovers, the first five managed by the American Jet Propulsion Laboratory: Sojourner (1997), Opportunity (2004), Spirit (2004), Curiosity (2012), and Perseverance (2021). The sixth is Zhurong (2021), managed by the China National Space Administration.

On January 24, 2016, NASA reported that current studies on Mars by Curiosity and Opportunity (the latter now defunct) would be searching for evidence of ancient life, including a biosphere based on autotrophic, chemotrophic or chemolithoautotrophic microorganisms, as well as ancient water, including fluvio-lacustrine environments (plains related to ancient rivers or lakes) that may have been habitable.[2][3][4][5][6] The search for evidence of habitability, taphonomy (related to fossils), and organic carbon on Mars is now a primary NASA objective.[2]

Mars 2 and Mars 3 were physically tethered probes; Sojourner was dependent on the Mars Pathfinder base station for communication with Earth; Opportunity, Spirit and Curiosity were on their own. As of July 2021, Curiosity is still active, while Spirit, Opportunity, and Sojourner completed their missions before losing contact. On February 18, 2021, Perseverance, the newest American Mars rover, successfully landed. On May 14, 2021, China's Zhurong became the first non-American rover to successfully operate on Mars.

Missions

Multiple rovers have been dispatched to Mars.

Active

No longer active

  • Mars 3, Prop-M rover, landed successfully on December 2, 1971. 4.5 kilograms (9.9 lb) rover tethered to the Mars 3 lander. Lost when the Mars 3 lander stopped communicating about 104.5 seconds after landing.[19] The loss of communication may have been due to the extremely powerful Martian dust storm taking place at the time or an issue with the Mars 3 orbiter's ability to relay communications.
  • Sojourner rover, Mars Pathfinder, landed successfully on July 4, 1997. Communications were lost on September 27, 1997. Sojourner had traveled a distance of just over 100 meters (330 ft).[20]
  • Spirit (MER-A), Mars Exploration Rover (MER), launched on June 10, 2003,[21] and landed on January 4, 2004. Nearly 6 years after the original mission limit, Spirit had covered a total distance of 7.73 km (4.80 mi) but its wheels became trapped in sand.[22] The last communication received from the rover was on March 22, 2010, and NASA ceased attempts to re-establish communication on May 25, 2011.[23]
  • Opportunity (MER-B), Mars Exploration Rover, launched on July 7, 2003[21] and landed on January 25, 2004. Opportunity surpassed the previous records for longevity at 5,352 sols (5498 Earth days from landing to mission end; 15 Earth years or 8 Martian years) and covered 45.16 km (28.06 mi). The rover sent its last status on 10 June 2018 when a global 2018 Mars dust storm blocked the sunlight needed to recharge its batteries.[24] After hundreds of attempts to reactivate the rover, NASA declared the mission complete on February 13, 2019.

Failed

  • Mars 2, Prop-M rover, 1971, Mars 2 landing failed taking Prop-M with it. The Mars 2 and 3 spacecraft from the Soviet Union had identical 4.5 kg Prop-M rovers. They were to move on skis while connected to the landers with cables.[19]
Sojourner disembarks Mars Pathfinder base station lander on the surface of planet Mars

Planned

Proposed

Undeveloped

Mock-up of canceled Mars Surveyor 2001 rover, tabled after the triple failure of Mars Polar Lander, Deep Space 2, and Mars Climate Orbiter in the late 1990s
Curiosity's (MSL) rover "hand" featuring a suite of instruments on a rotating "wrist". "Mount Sharp" is in the background (September 8, 2012).

Examples of instruments

Opportunity's first self-portrait including the camera mast on Mars
(February 14−20, 2018 / sols 4998−5004) It was taken with its microscopic imager instrument

Examples of instruments onboard landed rovers include:

Mars landing locations

Mars Landing Sites (December 16, 2020)

NASA Mars rover goals (circa 2010s)

NASA distinguishes between "mission" objectives and "science" objectives. Mission objectives are related to progress in space technology and development processes. Science objectives are met by the instruments during their mission in space.

The science instruments are chosen and designed based on the science objectives and goals. The primary goal of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers was to investigate "the history of water on Mars".[33]

The four science goals of NASA's long-term Mars Exploration Program are:

Panorama of Husband Hill taken by the Spirit rover (November 2005)

Gallery

Opportunity rover later visited its heat shield impact site; it was ejected during the rover's descent and impacted the surface separately.

See also


References

  1. Mark Rober [@MarkRober]. "CONFESSION: when I was at @NASA I created this image from our CAD model of the rover before it launched.". https://twitter.com/MarkRober/status/1256956499286298625.  Missing or empty |date= (help)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Grotzinger, John P. (January 24, 2014). "Introduction to Special Issue - Habitability, Taphonomy, and the Search for Organic Carbon on Mars". Science 343 (6169): 386–387. doi:10.1126/science.1249944. PMID 24458635. Bibcode2014Sci...343..386G. 
  3. Various (January 24, 2014). "Special Issue - Table of Contents - Exploring Martian Habitability". Science 343 (6169): 345–452. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/343/6169.toc#SpecialIssue. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  4. Various (January 24, 2014). "Special Collection - Curiosity - Exploring Martian Habitability". Science. http://www.sciencemag.org/site/extra/curiosity/. Retrieved January 24, 2014. 
  5. Grotzinger, J.P. (January 24, 2014). "A Habitable Fluvio-Lacustrine Environment at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars". Science 343 (6169): 1242777. doi:10.1126/science.1242777. PMID 24324272. Bibcode2014Sci...343A.386G. 
  6. "Planetary Scientists Have Created a Map of Mars' Entire Ancient River Systems" (in en-US). 2020-12-30. https://www.universetoday.com/149441/planetary-scientists-have-created-a-map-of-mars-entire-ancient-river-systems/. 
  7. "Mars Science Laboratory Launch". 26 November 2011. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/launch/index.html. 
  8. "NASA Launches Super-Size Rover to Mars: 'Go, Go!'". New York Times. 26 November 2011. https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/11/26/science/AP-US-SCI-Mars-Rover.html. 
  9. USGS (16 May 2012). "Three New Names Approved for Features on Mars". USGS. https://astrogeology.usgs.gov/HotTopics/index.php?/archives/447-Three-New-Names-Approved-for-Features-on-Mars.html. 
  10. NASA Staff (27 March 2012). "'Mount Sharp' on Mars Compared to Three Big Mountains on Earth". NASA. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/pia15292-Fig2.html. 
  11. Agle, D. C. (28 March 2012). "'Mount Sharp' On Mars Links Geology's Past and Future". NASA. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/news/msl20120328.html. 
  12. Staff (29 March 2012). "NASA's New Mars Rover Will Explore Towering 'Mount Sharp'". Space.com. http://www.space.com/15097-mars-mountain-sharp-curiosity-rover.html. 
  13. Webster, Guy; Brown, Dwayne (22 July 2011). "NASA's Next Mars Rover To Land At Gale Crater". NASA JPL. http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2011-222#1. 
  14. Chow, Dennis (22 July 2011). "NASA's Next Mars Rover to Land at Huge Gale Crater". Space.com. http://www.space.com/12394-nasa-mars-rover-landing-site-unveiled.html. 
  15. Amos, Jonathan (22 July 2011). "Mars rover aims for deep crater". BBC News. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14249524. 
  16. "Nasa's Perseverance rover lands on Mars". BBC News. 18 February 2021. https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-56119931. Retrieved 2021-02-18. 
  17. Gebhardt, Chris (February 10, 2021). "China, with Tianwen-1, begins tenure at Mars with successful orbital arrival". https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2021/02/china-ready-to-begin-mars-tenure-with-tianwen-1-orbit-insertion/. 
  18. https://www.golem.de/news/zhurong-erste-chinesische-marssonde-mit-rover-erfolgreich-gelandet-2105-156507.html
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Mars 2 Lander". NASA NSSDC. https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraft/display.action?id=1971-045D. 
  20. "Sojourner". http://spacepioneers.msu.edu/robot_rovers/sojourner.html. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Mars Exploration". 10 August 2012. http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/launch_e.html. 
  22. Boyle, Alan. "Good moves on Mars". MSNBC. http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2010/01/21/2181157.aspx. 
  23. "NASA Concludes Attempts To Contact Mars Rover Spirit". NASA. May 24, 2011. http://marsrover.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20110524a.html. 
  24. "Mars Exploration Rover Mission: All Opportunity Updates". https://mars.nasa.gov/mer/mission/status_opportunityAll.html. 
  25. [1]
  26. de Selding, Peter B. (20 April 2011). "ESA Halts Work on ExoMars Orbiter and Rover". Space News. http://www.spacenews.com/civil/110420-esa-halts-work-exomars.html. 
  27. Svitak, Amy (18 April 2011). "U.S., Europe Plan Single-rover Mars Mission for 2018". Space News. http://www.spacenews.com/civil/110418-single-rover-mars-mission-2018.html. 
  28. "NASA - NSSDCA - Spacecraft - Details". https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraft/display.action?id=MS2001R. 
  29. Kimberly W. Land (May 13, 2003). "A new way to explore the surface of Mars". NASA. http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/releases/2003/03-029.html. 
  30. The Tumbleweed Rover is on a Roll. Anna Heiney, KSC NASA. 11 March 2004.
  31. Arias, Francisco. J (2018). "CO2-Cushion Vehicle for Mars. An Alternative Locomotion for Exploration Rovers". 2018 Joint Propulsion Conference. doi:10.2514/6.2018-4492. ISBN 978-1-62410-570-8. 
  32. Arias, Francisco. J (2018). "A Method of Attaining High Pressurized Vessels in Space, the Moon and With Particular Reference to Mars". 2018 International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference. doi:10.2514/6.2018-4488. ISBN 978-1-62410-571-5. 
  33. "Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Overview". marsrovers.nasa.gov. http://marsrovers.nasa.gov/overview/. 
  34. "Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Science – Looking for signs of past water on Mars". marsrovers.nasa.gov. http://marsrovers.nasa.gov/science/. 

External links