With its scheduled launch date now looming giant, NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has been kitted out with slick new wheels and brakes to assist it address the Purple Planet’s tough terrain.
Perseverance is about to take off for Mars in July, the place it can scour the Martian floor for indicators of life and liveable situations in its historic previous. It’ll exchange the hardy Curiosity rover, which has been trundling round on the floor of Mars for over seven years.
Classes realized from Curiosity, and rigorous testing, have prompted designers to tweak the specs for the wheels and brakes that had been fitted on the robotic this week.
Machined out of a block of flight-grade aluminum and outfitted with titanium spokes, every wheel is barely bigger in diameter and narrower than Curiosity’s.
The wheel’s skins are additionally virtually a millimeter thicker and have new treads, generally known as grousers. As an alternative of Curiosity’s 24 chevron-pattern treads, there are 48 gently curved ones.
The redesign was knowledgeable by intensive testing within the Mars Yard at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The curved treads had been proven to higher stand up to strain from sharp rocks and grip simply as nicely or higher than Curiosity’s when driving on sand.
The wheels will allow the intrepid machine to hit a high velocity of 152 meters per hour, whereas this won’t sound like a lot, it’s positively nippy by Martian requirements.
“By Earth automobile requirements, the Perseverance rover is gradual. By Martian automobile requirements, nonetheless, Perseverance is a standout performer,” NASA stated.
The robotic took a take a look at drive final December but it surely was carried out on “flight spares” that gained’t be making the journey to Mars.
Perseverance is presently set to the touch down in Mars’ Jezero crater early subsequent 12 months. In addition to almost two dozen cameras and two microphones, the machine will even be accompanied by the Mars Helicopter, which can assist it scout for places to check.
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