An engineer checks
the completed spacecraft that will bring NASA next Mars rover to Red
Planet, before the test at the Space Simulator Facility at NASA Jet
Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
down, and suspended by cable, is the complete cruise stage, which will power
and guide the Mars 2020 spacecraft on a seven-month trip to the Red Planet.
Just below it is an aeroshell (white back shell and almost no black)
heat shield), which will protect the vehicle during shipping and during it
fiery offspring into the atmosphere of Mars. Not visible (because of the cocoon
in aeroshell) is the stage of descent full-powered rockets and surrogate explorers (substitutes for the real ones
rover, who is undergoing a final assembly in the High Bay 1 JPL clean room).
Mars 2020 spacecraft
tested in a room 25 feet, 85 feet (8 meters 26 meters) on
the same configuration will be in when flying through interplanetary space.
The 2020 explorer carries a whole new set of instruments,
including a sample caching system that will collect Mars samples to be returned
to Earth on the next mission. The mission will be launched from the Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in July 2020 and landed at Jezero
Crater on February 18, 2021.
taken on May 9, 2019.
JPL is building
and will manage the Mars 2020 explorer operation for the NASA Science Mission
The directorate at the agency's headquarters in Washington.
For more information about missions,
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Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.