Mars rover

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
NASA's Curiosity rover, selfie, 2015

A Mars rover is a remote-controlled motor vehicle designed to travel on the surface of Mars. Rovers have several advantages over stationary landers: they examine more territory, they can be directed to interesting features, they can place themselves in sunny positions to weather winter months, and they can advance the knowledge of how to perform very remote robotic vehicle control. They serve a different purpose than orbital spacecraft like Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. A more recent development is the Mars helicopter.

As of May 2021, there have been six successful robotically operated Mars rovers; the first five, managed by the American NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, were (by date of Mars landing): Sojourner (1997), Spirit (2004–2010), Opportunity (2004–2018), Curiosity (2012–present), and Perseverance (2021–present). The sixth, managed by the China National Space Administration, is Zhurong (2021–2022).

On January 24, 2016, NASA reported that then current studies on Mars by Opportunity and Curiosity would be searching for evidence of ancient life, including a biosphere based on autotrophic, chemotrophic or chemolithoautotrophic microorganisms, as well as ancient water, including fluvio-lacustrine environments (plains related to ancient rivers or lakes) that may have been habitable.[1][2][3][4][5] The search for evidence of habitability, taphonomy (related to fossils), and organic carbon on Mars is now a primary NASA objective.[1][6]

The Soviet probes, Mars 2 and Mars 3, were physically tethered probes; Sojourner was dependent on the Mars Pathfinder base station for communication with Earth; Opportunity, Spirit and Curiosity were on their own. As of November 2023, Curiosity is still active, while Spirit, Opportunity, and Sojourner completed their missions before losing contact. On February 18, 2021, Perseverance, the newest American Mars rover, successfully landed. On May 14, 2021, China's Zhurong became the first non-American rover to successfully operate on Mars.

Missions

Multiple rovers have been dispatched to Mars:

Rover and lander captured by HiRISE from NASA's MRO on June 6, 2021
Zhurong rover and lander captured by HiRISE from NASA's MRO on 6 June 2021

Active

Past

Sojourner disembarks Mars Pathfinder base station lander on the surface of planet Mars
  • Sojourner rover, Mars Pathfinder, landed successfully on July 4, 1997. Communications were lost on September 27, 1997. Sojourner had traveled a distance of just over 100 meters (330 ft).[17]
  • Spirit (MER-A), Mars Exploration Rover (MER), launched on June 10, 2003,[18] and landed on January 4, 2004. Nearly 6 years after the original mission limit, Spirit had covered a total distance of 7.73 km (4.80 mi) but its wheels became trapped in sand.[19] The last communication received from the rover was on March 22, 2010, and NASA ceased attempts to re-establish communication on May 25, 2011.[20]
  • Opportunity (MER-B), Mars Exploration Rover, launched on July 7, 2003[18] and landed on January 25, 2004. Opportunity surpassed the previous records for longevity at 5,352 sols (5498 Earth days from landing to mission end; 15 Earth years or 8 Martian years) and covered 45.16 km (28.06 mi). The rover sent its last status on 10 June 2018 when a global 2018 Mars dust storm blocked the sunlight needed to recharge its batteries.[21] After hundreds of attempts to reactivate the rover, NASA declared the mission complete on February 13, 2019.
  • Zhurong launched with the Tianwen-1 CNSA Mars mission on July 23, 2020, landed on May 14, 2021, in the southern region of Utopia Planitia, and deployed on May 22, 2021, while dropping a remote selfie camera on 1 June 2021.[22][23] Designed for a lifespan of 90 sols (93 Earth days),[24] Zhurong had been active for 347 sols (356.5 days) since its deployment and traveled on Mars's surface for 1,921 m (6,302 ft).[25] Since 20 May 2022, the rover was deactivated due to approaching sandstorms and Martian winter.[26][27] But the larger-than-expected build-up of dust covering its solar panels prevented it from self-reactivation. On 25 April 2023, the mission designer Zhang Rongqiao announced that the buildup of dust from the last inactivation is greater than planned, indicating the rover could be inactive "forever".[28]

Failed

  • Mars 2, PrOP-M rover, 1971, Mars 2 landing failed taking Prop-M with it. The Mars 2 and 3 spacecraft from the Soviet Union had identical 4.5 kg Prop-M rovers. They were to move on skis while connected to the landers with cables.[29]
  • Mars 3, PrOP-M rover, landed successfully on December 2, 1971. 4.5 kilograms (9.9 lb) rover tethered to the Mars 3 lander. Lost when the Mars 3 lander stopped communicating about 110 seconds after landing.[29] The loss of communication may have been due to the extremely powerful Martian dust storm taking place at the time or an issue with the Mars 3 orbiter's ability to relay communications.

Planned

  • The European-Russian ExoMars rover Rosalind Franklin was confirmed technically ready for launch in March 2022 and planned to launch in September 2022, but due to the suspension of cooperation with Roscosmos this is delayed until at least 2028. A fast-track study was started to determine alternative launch options.[30]
  • The Russian Moscow Aviation Institute and the Indian IIT are jointly developing a fixed-wing Mars UAV which as of March 2023 is scheduled for launch in late 2025.[31]

Proposed

Undeveloped

Timeline of rover surface operations

Zhurong (rover)Perseverance (rover)Curiosity (rover)Opportunity (rover)Spirit (rover)Sojourner (rover)

Examples of instruments

Curiosity's (MSL) rover "hand" featuring a suite of instruments on a rotating "wrist". Mount Sharp is in the background (September 8, 2012).
Opportunity's first self-portrait including the camera mast on Mars
(February 14−20, 2018 / sols 4998−5004). It was taken with its microscopic imager instrument.

Examples of instruments onboard landed rovers include:

Mars landing locations

Map of Mars
Interactive image map of the global topography of Mars, overlaid with the position of Martian rovers and landers. Coloring of the base map indicates relative elevations of Martian surface.
Clickable image: Clicking on the labels will open a new article.
Legend:   Active (white lined, ※)  Inactive  Planned (dash lined, ⁂)
Bradbury Landing
Deep Space 2
Mars Polar Lander
Perseverance
Schiaparelli EDM
Spirit
Viking 1
Mars Landing Sites (December 16, 2020)

NASA Mars rover goals

Circa the 2010s, NASA had established certain goals for the rover program.

NASA distinguishes between "mission" objectives and "science" objectives. Mission objectives are related to progress in space technology and development processes. Science objectives are met by the instruments during their mission in space.

The science instruments are chosen and designed based on the science objectives and goals. The primary goal of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers was to investigate "the history of water on Mars".[41]

The four science goals of NASA's long-term Mars Exploration Program are:

Panorama of Husband Hill taken by the Spirit rover (November 2005)

Gallery

  • Mars rovers
  • Sojourner rover on Mars
    Sojourner rover on Mars
  • Comparison of wheels: Mars Sojourner rover, MER, MSL
    Comparison of wheels: Mars Sojourner rover, MER, MSL
  • Comparison (2008): MER, Sojourner rover, MSL
    Comparison (2008): MER, Sojourner rover, MSL
  • Comparison (2011): MER, Sojourner rover, humans, MSL
    Comparison (2011): MER, Sojourner rover, humans, MSL
Opportunity rover later visited its heat shield impact site; it was ejected during the rover's descent and impacted the surface separately.
Comparison of the distances travelled by various Mars rovers

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Grotzinger, John P. (January 24, 2014). "Introduction to Special Issue - Habitability, Taphonomy, and the Search for Organic Carbon on Mars". Science. 343 (6169): 386–387. Bibcode:2014Sci...343..386G. doi:10.1126/science.1249944. PMID 24458635.
  2. ^ "Special Issue - Table of Contents - Exploring Martian Habitability". Science. 343 (6169): 345–452. January 24, 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  3. ^ "Special Collection - Curiosity - Exploring Martian Habitability". Science. January 24, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
  4. ^ Grotzinger, J.P.; et al. (January 24, 2014). "A Habitable Fluvio-Lacustrine Environment at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars". Science. 343 (6169): 1242777. Bibcode:2014Sci...343A.386G. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.455.3973. doi:10.1126/science.1242777. PMID 24324272. S2CID 52836398.
  5. ^ "Planetary Scientists Have Created a Map of Mars' Entire Ancient River Systems". Universe Today. 2020-12-30. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  6. ^ Changela, Hitesh G.; Chatzitheodoridis, Elias; Antunes, Andre; Beaty, David; Bouw, Kristian; Bridges, John C.; Capova, Klara Anna; Cockell, Charles S.; Conley, Catharine A.; Dadachova, Ekaterina; Dallas, Tiffany D. (December 2021). "Mars: new insights and unresolved questions". International Journal of Astrobiology. 20 (6): 394–426. arXiv:2112.00596. Bibcode:2021IJAsB..20..394C. doi:10.1017/S1473550421000276. ISSN 1473-5504. S2CID 244773061.
  7. ^ "Mars Science Laboratory Launch". 26 November 2011. Archived from the original on 2017-05-20. Retrieved 2011-11-26.
  8. ^ "NASA Launches Super-Size Rover to Mars: 'Go, Go!'". New York Times. Associated Press. 26 November 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-26.
  9. ^ USGS (16 May 2012). "Three New Names Approved for Features on Mars". USGS. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  10. ^ NASA Staff (27 March 2012). "'Mount Sharp' on Mars Compared to Three Big Mountains on Earth". NASA. Archived from the original on 7 May 2017. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  11. ^ Agle, D. C. (28 March 2012). "'Mount Sharp' On Mars Links Geology's Past and Future". NASA. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  12. ^ Staff (29 March 2012). "NASA's New Mars Rover Will Explore Towering 'Mount Sharp'". Space.com. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  13. ^ Webster, Guy; Brown, Dwayne (22 July 2011). "NASA's Next Mars Rover To Land At Gale Crater". NASA JPL. Archived from the original on 2012-06-07. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  14. ^ Chow, Dennis (22 July 2011). "NASA's Next Mars Rover to Land at Huge Gale Crater". Space.com. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  15. ^ Amos, Jonathan (22 July 2011). "Mars rover aims for deep crater". BBC News. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  16. ^ "Nasa's Perseverance rover lands on Mars". BBC News. 18 February 2021. Retrieved 2021-02-18.
  17. ^ "Sojourner". Archived from the original on 2015-03-20.
  18. ^ a b "Mars Exploration". 10 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
  19. ^ Boyle, Alan. "Good moves on Mars". MSNBC. Archived from the original on 2010-01-23. Retrieved 2010-01-22.
  20. ^ "NASA Concludes Attempts To Contact Mars Rover Spirit". NASA. May 24, 2011. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011.
  21. ^ "Mars Exploration Rover Mission: All Opportunity Updates". mars.nasa.gov. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  22. ^ Gebhardt, Chris (February 10, 2021). "China, with Tianwen-1, begins tenure at Mars with successful orbital arrival".
  23. ^ "First Chinese Mars probe successfully landed with a rover". www.golem.de.
  24. ^ Jones, Andrew (30 July 2021). "China's Zhurong Mars rover scopes out dunes on journey south". Space.com.
  25. ^ "China's Mars rover Zhurong is hunkering down for its 1st Red Planet winter". Space.com. 11 May 2022.
  26. ^ Mallapaty, Smriti (20 January 2023). "What's happened to China's first Mars rover?". Nature. doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00111-3. PMID 36670252. S2CID 256056375. Retrieved 10 February 2023.
  27. ^ Cheung, Rachel (13 March 2023). "China's Mars Rover Has Not Moved Since September, NASA Images Revealed". Vice News.
  28. ^ Hart, Robert (25 April 2023). "China's Mars rover is stuck sleeping after harsh martian winter". Forbes.
  29. ^ a b "Mars 2 Lander". NASA NSSDC. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
  30. ^ "Rover ready – next steps for ExoMars". www.esa.int. Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  31. ^ "Russia and India jointly developing Mars UAV". March 2023. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  32. ^ Neeraj Srivastava; S. Vijayan; Amit Basu Sarbadhikari (2022-09-27), "Future Exploration of the Inner Solar System: Scope and the Focus Areas", Planetary Sciences Division (PSDN), Physical Research Laboratory – via ISRO Facebook Panel Discussion, Mars Orbiter Mission National Meet
  33. ^ "NASA - Missions to Mars". nasa.gov. October 15, 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-10-15.
  34. ^ de Selding, Peter B. (20 April 2011). "ESA Halts Work on ExoMars Orbiter and Rover". Space News. Archived from the original on May 24, 2012. Retrieved 2011-04-21.
  35. ^ Svitak, Amy (18 April 2011). "U.S., Europe Plan Single-rover Mars Mission for 2018". Space News. Archived from the original on May 24, 2012. Retrieved 2011-04-21.
  36. ^ "NASA - NSSDCA - Spacecraft - Details".
  37. ^ Kimberly W. Land (May 13, 2003). "A new way to explore the surface of Mars". NASA. Retrieved 2011-04-04.
  38. ^ The Tumbleweed Rover is on a Roll. Anna Heiney, KSC NASA. 11 March 2004.
  39. ^ Arias, Francisco. J (2018). "CO2-Cushion Vehicle for Mars. An Alternative Locomotion for Exploration Rovers". 2018 Joint Propulsion Conference. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. doi:10.2514/6.2018-4492. ISBN 978-1-62410-570-8. S2CID 240375295.
  40. ^ Arias, Francisco. J (2018). "A Method of Attaining High Pressurized Vessels in Space, the Moon and With Particular Reference to Mars". 2018 International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. doi:10.2514/6.2018-4488. ISBN 978-1-62410-571-5. S2CID 240369235.
  41. ^ "Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Overview". marsrovers.nasa.gov. Archived from the original on 2012-08-28. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
  42. ^ "Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Science – Looking for signs of past water on Mars". marsrovers.nasa.gov. Archived from the original on 2008-05-22. Retrieved 2008-06-25.

External links