Hardware installed onto NASA’s Mars 2020 entry vehicle this week will help to increase the safety of future Mars landings.
Charged with returning astronauts to the Moon by 2024, NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration plans will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028. NASA will use its Moon missions along with robotic missions to Mars to prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.
The Mars Entry, Descent and Landing Instrumentation 2 (MEDLI2) project developed a suite of sensors that will measure aerothermal environments and the performance of thermal protection system (TPS) material during the entry phase on the Mars 2020 mission. Engineers installed the first batch of items delivered by MEDLI2 onto the heat shield of the entry vehicle this week. The aeroshell of the entry vehicle consists of a heat shield and backshell and will protect the Mars 2020 rover in transit from Earth to Mars and during the entry through the atmosphere of Mars on its way to the surface.
“Understanding the actual performance of our current generation of entry vehicles is crucial to safe, reliable landing of future robotic and crewed Mars missions. MEDLI2 pressure and thermal measurements are the key to that understanding,” said Todd White, MEDLI2 principal investigator… [More at link]