NASA plans to launch the Perseverance rover very soon to the Red Planet with the Mars 2020 mission. The rover is about to find signs of life on Mars using a device called the Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals (SHERLOC).
To keep the instrument in a working condition, a team from the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) division at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) recently developed a new calibration device for the rover in order to keep SHERLOC functions in check and properly time everything during the mission. The new sophisticated calibration device is also going to be used for a lot of other scientific and engineering investigations, and the scientists really excited that it’s JSC’s contribution to the Mars 2020 rover.
NASA teams at KSC this week completed stacking of the Perseverance rover with Backshell-Powered Descent Vehicle and Entry Vehicle assemblies. Shell contains the parachute and heat shield.
Mating with Atlas V rocket on Monday. Liftoff on July 20, Mars arrival in February. pic.twitter.com/VT8KK6J6Z4
— Emre Kelly (@EmreKelly) June 17, 2020
NASA Perseverance ready for Mars 2020 mission
SHERLOC is mounted on the end of the rover’s seven-foot robotic arm and includes a laser, camera, and chemical analyzers, called spectrometers. The sensitive components will be used together to search for substances that have been altered by water and possibly reveal evidence of past microscopic life on Mars. The space agency has claimed that the remarkable engineering behind SHERLOC is pretty complicated. SHERLOC is a highly sophisticated calibration device, it will also be used for a lot of other scientific and investigative purposes.
The rover’s scientific instruments go through all sorts of harsh conditions from the time they leave the lab until they arrive on the surface of Mars. SHERLOC needed a way to make sure it still operates as expected once it’s on the surface and throughout the duration of the mission. The idea of the space agency behind this engineering is that researchers back home will occasionally be checking SHERLOC’s function by directing it to scan different materials on its path.
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Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.