Mars 2020 Mission Perseverance Rover

These past few days have been very important for those interested in space science … because the Perseverance Rover made a safe landing on Mars on the 18th , taking a new step on Mars. So today I am going to talk about this Perseverance Rover.

Percy, who set sail from Earth

The Perseverance Rover (hereinafter referred to as “Percy”), which was sent to explore Mars, began its journey from Earth on July 30, 2020. The mission was named “Mars Missions 2020” by the NASA Space Research Center. NASA spent $ 2.1 billion on Mars missions 2020, marking the third Mars mission to Mars in 2020. The Mars Exploration Project will launch a Perseverance Rover and a small robotic helicopter called Ingenuity to Mars. The rover will launch its Atlas V 541 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida, USA on a rocket … Landing on Mars at the end of their journey refers to the Jezero crater on Mars.

Design of Percy

Design pf NASA Perseverance rover
Design pf NASA Perseverance rover

Do you remember the Curiosity rover that was sent to Mars earlier? this Perseverance rover was redesigned as well as the Curiosity rover’s landing system … why did you use the Curiosity rover template for this before. Building on the existing Curiosity rover’s template reduces the cost and risk involved in designing a new design. as well as saving time. But changes in the scientific equipment as well as the experience of previous rovers that may have occurred during the production of this Percy It is very special that it has been manufactured to minimize damage. There is nothing wrong with calling this state-of-the-art rover the Percy.

Percy’s total weight is 1025kg and its height is 2.2m. The length of the row is 2.9m. The total diameter of the rover is 2.7m. Its power supply can be pointed out as 110W. Percy Rover’s flagship CPU is a 200Mhz PowerPc 750 Radiation Hardened Processor. Storage is 2GB and RAM is 256MB DRAM. Percy’s OS is almost always the VxWorks RT Os used by NASA.

In the production of Percy, more attention has been paid to the rover’s wheels. We can see from the photos that the Curiosity rover wheels, which were previously sent to Mars, have been damaged very quickly over time due to the sharp rocks on the surface of Mars. That’s why Percy decides to make stronger wheels. According to this, it is 52.5 cm in diameter and has a sharp rock surface to withstand traveling on Mars. Therefore, they point out that Percy’s mass is about 14% (13.88%) greater than the mass of the Curiosity rover.

The rover is powered by a multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator (MMRTG). It weighs 45kg and contains 4.8kg of plutonium-238 dioxide isotope (half-life 87.7 years). They point out that this generates 110W of power and that over time the power generation here may gradually decrease … but thus the power generation efficiency decreases very slowly. MMRTG charges two rechargeable lithium ion batteries for the rover’s work. The advantage here is that the rover’s power supply is not damaged during dust storms as well as severe winters, unlike when using solar panels.

Many scientific instruments are being considered for connection to the latest Percy. Out of more than fifty such devices, several essential ones have been used for the rover … Let us now inquire about such equipment …

Planetary Instrument for X-Ray Lithochemistry (PIXL)

This determines the composition of the surface matter on Mars. This can be referred to as X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy

AdRadar Imager for Mars’ subsurface experiment (RIMFAX)

A radar instrument that can detect the density, structure, inner layers of the Earth, as well as rocks and meteorites buried in the earth’s interior. It also aims to determine if there is water or salt water at a depth of 10m inside Mars.

Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA)

Supplied by Spain, the device uses sensors to measure temperature, wind speed and direction, relative humidity, atmospheric pressure, surface radiation and dust particle size and shape on Mars.

ArsMars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE)

The production of oxygen by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Mars can be pointed out as a test instrument.


This camera is made with two lasers and four spectroscopes. This is a device that can analyze the chemical composition of rocks from a distance by laser, which can be pointed out as an upgraded device of ChemCam in the previous Curiosity rover.


The main camera system is a three-dimensional camera system capable of zooming.

Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC)

This is an ultraviolet spectroscopy. This allows the identification of organic matter.

Mars Helicopter Ingenuity

(More on this later in the article … Continue reading …)

All of these devices eventually have 23 cameras and 2 microphones attached to record sounds during landing and rover travel.

Aims of Perseverance Rover

Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (11750211e)

There are several main purposes for sending Percy to Mars

  • Explore whether life existed on Mars in the past and find evidence for it if it did exist.
  • Further acquisition of knowledge required for manned spacecraft from future manned spacecraft to Mars. Ex: – Understanding the climate, weather, and potential hazards on Mars.
  • Identify the environmental problems that can be caused to astronauts by launching a robotic helicopter on Mars.
  • Testing the spacecraft’s landing process on Mars to the exact location required.
  • In the future, unmanned spacecraft will bring soil samples to Mars.

It is planned to bring 42 soil samples to Earth and take soil samples from various places on Mars. The rover will drill deep into the earth, collect soil from the interior of Mars and collect samples. The samples collected are likely to reach Earth in the next decade, around 2031. (This may be due to the time it takes to collect the samples, the time it takes to find the best samples, and the fact that it automatically takes five samples to land on Earth with long fuel management.)

Percy lands safely on Mars

Percy embarked on a 203-day voyage with many hopes and goals, traveling 293 million miles on the 18th of February, 2021 at 3.55 pm (around 2.23-2.25 am local time) The landing was done by a sky crane on the Jezero crater on Mars. The exact location of Percy’s landing is 18.4447 N, 77.4508 E.

One of the purposes of sending Perseverance Rover to Mars was to test the process of landing the spacecraft on Mars to a very precise location. Percy was able to make a successful landing in the pre-planned area, though not at the pre-planned point of landing. The landing was done by self-data analytics technology, the significance of which was that the rover landed on Mars, choosing a location where the ecosystem was generally less rugged, although not at the pre-planned point of landing. Although the spacecraft sent to Mars landed a few kilometers away from the pre-planned point, this time it is a great achievement to make such a landing at a point close to the pre-planned point.

The landing of Percy to Jezero crater on Mars was also a cause. In other words, considering the location of the Jezero crater, scientists hypothesized that the crater may have previously been filled with water on Mars. There is also a trench-like topography that allows water to flow in and out of the crater. If water existed, the chances of life would be high. If so, scientists have decided that the Jezero region is the best place to look for it. The main purpose of this is to take soil samples from this crater and explore the existence of past life on Mars.

Ingenuity Helicopter

The other man who went to Mars with Percy was Ingenuity. This Ingenuity Helicopter with a weight of 1.8 kg and two Counter-Rotating Coaxial Rotors 1.1m in diameter was the first to fly on another planet. ). (This is not the first flight, because balloons have flown on Venus before, so the first flight was on Venus). Scientists at Jpl have been developing Ingenuity for two years at a cost of $ 23 million.

Ingenuity’s first Five flyings, are scheduled to land on Mars within the first 30 days. However, since the rover did not land at the correct location, the rover must first travel to an environment suitable for flight. Due to this, the launch date of the flight cannot be ascertained. However, the helicopter is expected to fly at an altitude of 3-10 meters and the flight time is said to be limited to a maximum of three minutes. But scientists point out that it can cover a distance of 300m even in this short period of flight. Also during this flight time photography is done so that the trajectory of the rover can be clearly observed.

But Ingenuity has some challenges. We all know that the atmospheric density of Mars is about 1% of the atmospheric density of the Earth. Similarly, its gravitational pull is 38% that of Earth’s gravity. Ingenuity is easy to fly due to gravity, but the helicopter must rotate very fast to lift the helicopter over thin air. The minimum speed is estimated to be approximately 2400rpm. But on Earth, the tail rotates between 240-600rpm. Therefore, it is a real challenge for Ingenuity to get a very fast tail rotation on Mars.

This is how Percy got his Name

There is an interesting story about naming the Perseverance aircraft. Perseverance means “relentless effort”.

NASA is organizing an essay competition called “Name the rover” to find a suitable name for the rover at Mars Missions 2020. Alexander Mather, a 14-year-old seventh-grader who participated in the event, won the essay, which won over 28,000 entries. I will present the essay written by Alexander as follows.

“Curiosity, InSight, Spirit, Opportunity. If you think about it, the names of past Mars rovers are all qualities we humans have. We are always curious. We have the spirit and insight to explore the moon, Mars and beyond, but. If rover is to be our attribute as a competition, then we have missed the most important thing: Perseverance. As humans, we evolved as creatures that can learn to adapt to any situation, we are a species of explorer and Mars On the way there, we will face many setbacks. However, we can make a relentless effort. We will not give up as a nation but as human beings. Mankind will always make a relentless effort for the future. “

After reading this essay, I ask Alexander why he chose the name Perseverance. There he gives a very interesting answer. He says that,

“Mars mission, exploration of the red planet is similar to and similar to humanity, and therefore the exploration of Mars requires a great deal of effort.”

After winning the match, Alexander also had the opportunity to join several members of the Perseverance team.

Send Your Name to Mars

What is this “send your name to Mars”? Most people may not even know about this. In many missions, NASA plans to collect and certify the names of people around the world, insert them into a microchip, and send them with the spacecraft. In the same way, when Percy started his journey, NASA gave you the opportunity to send your name to Mars this time as well. They sent this microchip to Mars with the Perseverance Rover. There, if you sent your name to Mars, you would be on a flight that has not yet identified your name. Like this 10.9 million names joined for unknown destination so far.

About Sasindu Jayasri 90 Articles
Sasindu Jayasri is an Engineering student from Sri Lanka and he studies mechanical engineering at the department of mechanical engineering at the University of Moratuwa. He is passionate about writing and giving inspiration to the world. Follow him in LinkedIn for updates and you can contact him directly.

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