The ExoMars mission will see Rosalind Franklin the rover and its surface platform Kazachok land on the Red Planet in 2021. From fine-grained soil to large boulders and slopes, the rover has to be able to move across many types of terrain, collect samples with a 2 m-long drill and analyse them with instruments in its onboard laboratory.
This second episode about ExoMars features the challenges of leaving the surface platform, overcoming obstacles and walking on dunes.
ESA, Roscosmos, Thales, Airbus and RUAG engineers put a full-sized model through a series of tests to fine-tune how the rover will move from its landing platform onto the martian terrain… [More at link]
Before Jezero. Before Jezero Crater was selected as the landing site for the Mars 2020 mission, this area in Gusev Crater was in the running. The terrain here is very different from nearby Columbia Hills (location of the Spirit rover), and is littered with small, light-toned plateaus and hills.
Nili Fossae is the name of a collection of curved faults and down-dropped blocks of crust between the faults (called graben). The grabens lie northeast of the large volcano Syrtis Major and northwest of the ancient impact basin Isidis.
The grabens make concentric curves that follow the outline of Isidis Planitia. The faults likely formed as the crust sagged under the weight of lava flows filling Isidis.
Sols 2497-98, August 12, 2019, update by MSL engineer Ashley Stroupe: This morning, after seeing that the redo of the SAM Preconditioning in Monday’s plan was successful, the SAM team was ready to drop-off four portions to SAM for evolved gas analysis. The power demands of SAM left little room for other activities on the first sol of the plan, but we were able to fit in some additional science on the second sol. In the afternoon of sol 2498, we’ll be doing targeted science, including Mastcam and ChemCam, of the targets “Liberton” and “Torberg” to get… [More at link]
Sol 2496, August 14, 2019. Curiosity’s front and rear Hazcams show the rover remains parked at the outcrop, with the Glen Etive drill hole and conical tailings pile visible on the flat rock in the upper center of the front view (right).
Below is the view to the rear, showing the rover’s tracksin the background as it drove around to climb on top of the outcrop. Click either image to enlarge it.
Slope monitoring on Ganges Mensa. An existing stereo pair shows dark lineations that look very much like recurring slope lineae, but did not exhibit any observed growth within a 1-month interval of the stereo pair, unlike RSL. This picture is to look for changes, once at the same season and once in another season when RSL are known to be active.
“The bit carousel is at the heart of the sampling and caching subsystem,” said Keith Rosette, Mars 2020 sample handling delivery manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “It contains all of the tools the coring drill uses to sample the Martian surface and is the gateway for the samples to move into the rover for assessment and processing.”
Looking somewhat like an extraterrestrial version of a 1960s slide projector, Mars 2020′s bit carousel is home to nine drill bits that facilitate sample acquisition and surface analysis: two for abrading, one for regolith (rock and soil) and six for coring. The coring and regolith bits are used to place Martian samples in a clean sample collection tube, while the abrader bit is used to scrape the top layers of rocks to expose un-weathered surfaces for study… [More at link]
Layers in a depression that are not depressing. Wherein we revel at the stratigraphic gorgeousness of a small area in Sinus Meridiani on the fourth planet from the Sun. Sinus Meridiani was named by the French astronomer Camille Flammarion in the late 1870s.