NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover Got Its Driver’s License

December 27, 2019

by Andreea Sterea

After receiving its wheels half a year ago, NASA’s Mars 2020 rover also got its driver’s license.

NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover is Ready to Rove

According to a NASA JPL’s announcement last week, the Mars 2020 rover successfully accomplished its first drive. The test took a whooping 10 hours, but at the end of it all, the rover earned its driving license. It steered, it turned, and it drove along 3-foot increments mimicking Mars’s surface. It is the rover’s last trial, as next time it will roll forward, backward, and make pirouettes it will be on alien soil. 

All systems are a go, as they should. The Mars 2020 mission will not be easy and it should be ready for anything.

Mars 2020 Rover’s Mission

Scheduled for launch in July or August 2020, the rover will have its plate full. The mission consists of many goals and NASA hopes the rover will unlock all the achievements:

  • search for microbial signs of life on Mars;
  • map and analyze Mars’ climate and geology;
  • collect samples and bring them home upon return;
  • understand how humans could explore further and safer Mars.

The Mars 2020 rover will land in an area called the Jezero Crater, which already promises amazing findings.

As you can see, the rover will have its fair share of challenges. This is why its designers made it to stand all heroic trials it will encounter. According to NASA scientists, the Mars 2020 rover

“[Will] make more driving decisions for itself than any previous rover. It is equipped with higher-resolution, wide-field-of-view color navigation cameras, an extra computer “brain” for processing images and making maps, and more sophisticated auto-navigation software. It also has wheels that have been redesigned for added durability.”

Optimistic About the Mars 2020 Rover’s Capabilities

Upon passing its driving test, experts at NASA are confident that the 2020 rover will perform great in the field. It will arrive on Mars in 2021 and it will have plenty of driving and exploring to do. Powered to drive about 650 feet daily to search for life and shine light on the Martian climate and geology, the rover sets a very high bar for space exploration. 

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