NASA’s Perseverance Rover Drives For First Time On Mars; Touchdown Named Octavia E. Butler

US Space agency NASA’s Perseverance rover took its first drive on Mars and covered 21.3 feet (6.5 meters ) across the Martian Landscape. On March 4 the drive was performed and served as the mobility test that marks just one of many milestones as team members check out and calibrate every system, subsystem and instrument on Perseverance. The drive lasted about 33 minutes, propelled the rover forward 13 feet (4 meters), where it then turned in place 150 degrees to the left and backed up 8 feet (2.5 meters) into its new temporary parking space, as per NASA’s press release.

I’m on the move! Just took my first test drive on Mars, covering about 16 feet (5 meters). You’re looking at the very beginning of my wheel tracks. Many more to make. — NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) March 5, 2021

Touchdown Site Named

The location where Perseverance rover drives on MARS now bear the name Octavia E. Butler Landing. It is named after the mane of a science fiction author Octavia E. Butler.

When @NASAPersevere landed on Mars, we not only made history, we lived out the dreams of artists who inspire our journeys into space.

In fitting tribute, @NASAJPL scientists have named the rover’s landing site after @OctaviaEButler, the groundbreaking science fiction author. — NASA (@NASA) March 5, 2021

According to NASA’s statement, Once the rover begins pursuing its science goals, regular commutes extending 656 feet (200 metres) or more are expected.

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Anais Zarifian, Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mobility testbed engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California said that when it comes to wheeled vehicles on other planets, there are few first-time events that measure up in significance to that of the first drive.

“This was our first chance to ‘kick the tires’ and take Perseverance out for a spin. The rover’s six-wheel-drive responded superbly. We are now confident our drive system is good to go, capable of taking us wherever the science leads us over the next two years,” he added

Engineers used Perseverance’s Navigation and Hazard Avoidance Cameras to image the spot where Perseverance touched down, dispersing Martian dust with plumes from its engines, in order to help better understand the dynamics of a retrorocket landing on the Red Planet.

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As per the statement not only the rover’s mobility system is not the only thing getting a test drive during this period of initial checkouts. Since landing, mission controllers completed a software update, replacing the computer program that helped land Perseverance with one they will rely on to investigate the planet.

Robert Hogg, Mars 2020 Perseverance rover deputy mission manager said that Tuesday’s first test of the robotic arm was a big moment for us.

“That’s the main tool the science team will use to do a close-up examination of the geologic features of Jezero Crater, and then we’ll drill and sample the ones they find the most interesting. When we got confirmation of the robotic arm flexing its muscles, including images of it working beautifully after its long trip to Mars, well, it made my day,” he added.

NASA’s Perseverance Lands On Mars

The Perseverance rover, the largest and most advanced robot sent by any country to another planet, reached Mars after travelling through space for more than 200 days. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California announced the confirmation of the successful touchdown. The probe was launched on July 30 during the crucial small window that opened for launch to Mars last year.

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(With ANI Inputs)

By Staff Writer