NASA's Mars Perseverance Rover is all set to land on the red planet in less than 100 days from now. The six-wheeled Mars car that was launched on July 30 this year is scheduled to land inside the 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) Jezero Crater on the afternoon of February 18, next year which is just 99 days from Wednesday, November 11.
"While we call the six-and-a-half-month trip from Earth to Mars 'cruise, I assure you there is not much croquet going on at the lido deck," Mission Project Manager John McNamee, with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, said in a statement.
"Between checking out the spacecraft and planning and simulating our landing and surface operations, the entire team is on the clock, working toward our exploration of Jezero Crater," McNamee added.
On November 9, the NASA mission team confirmed that the propulsion subsystem of the descent stage, which will help lower the rover onto Mars, is in good working order. On the next day, the team turned their attention to the rover's PIXL and SHERLOC instruments.
The Lander Vision System is scheduled to go under the microscope on November 11 and the SuperCam instrument, the day after that, NASA said in the statement. In the coming days, on December 18, the team plans to perform a trajectory correction maneuver, using the cruise stage's eight thrusters to refine the spacecraft's path toward Mars.
The Perseverance rover is the highlight of NASA's $2.7 billion Mars 2020 mission that will operate the landing strategy discovered by its predecessor, the Curiosity rover. A rocket-powered sky crane will lower Perseverance to Jezero's floor on cables, then fly off to crash-land a safe distance away. The rover will use its advanced instrument suite to track for signs of ancient Mars life in Jezero. The Mars rover will also collect and cache samples for a future return to Earth and demonstrate technologies that could aid future exploration of the red planet.
(Image Credits: NASA.gov)