Heat Shield for NASA's Mars 2020 Rover Cracks During Test

Heat Shield for NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover Cracks During Test

Heat Shield for NASA's Mars 2020 Rover Cracks During Test

This artist’s idea depicts the entry of NASA’s Curiosity rover by means of Mars’ higher ambiance. The Mars 2020 mission will use elements of this design for its mission.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The warmth defend for NASA’s upcoming Mars rover suffered a fracture throughout testing just lately, however the incident will not change the mission’s launch date, company officers mentioned.

The Mars 2020 mission is designed to go looking the Red Planet’s floor for indicators of historical microbial life, and the six-wheeled robotic will even hunt for and characterize doubtlessly liveable environments. The mission is scheduled to launch in 2020, when Earth and Mars are correctly aligned for an interplanetary mission, and arrive on the Red Planet in early 2021.

The warmth defend’s structural injury, positioned close to the defend’s periphery, occurred throughout a weeklong take a look at on the Denver facility of contractor Lockheed Martin Space, in accordance with a NASA assertion launched Thursday (April 26). The take a look at was meant to topic the warmth defend to forces about 20 % higher than these it’s going to expertise when it hits the Martian atmosphere for entry, descent and touchdown operations. [NASA’s Mars Rover 2020 Mission in Pictures (Gallery)]

The Mars 2020 crew discovered the fracture on April 12. Mission administration at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, will work with Lockheed Martin to steer an examination of the reason for the crack and to resolve if any design modifications ought to be made, NASA officers mentioned in the statement.

The incident will not delay the Mars 2020 launch, although, which is presently focused for July 17, 2020, the officers added.

It’s necessary to research this crack, as a result of the warmth defend is a part of the spacecraft’s thermal safety system, designed by engineers to maintain the Martian rover secure because the car experiences intense warmth throughout atmospheric entry. 

NASA officers mentioned the present warmth defend will likely be repaired to allow continued prelaunch spacecraft testing. The Mars 2020 mission crew will develop a brand new warmth defend construction over the subsequent yr, and as soon as that is accomplished, the brand new defend will obtain different necessary parts like thermal safety tiles. 

Follow Doris Elin Salazar on Twitter@salazar_elin. Follow us@Spacedotcom,Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

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