NASA engineers at the JPL have successfully tested the Mars 2020 rotary table to detect its center of gravity, according to a JPL statement.
This was the first test of the turntable of the assembled rover, a key part that ensured your safe trip to Mars scheduled for July 2020.
A 1,040 kg Martian vehicle was rotated clockwise and anticlockwise on a rotary table in the clean room of the JPL Spacecraft switchgear in Pasadena, California.
The engineers were looking for the center of gravity of the rover, that is, the point where the weight was evenly distributed on all sides.
Establishing the center of gravity of the rover is a key part of the assembly process and helps ensure that the spacecraft seamlessly travels from launch to entry, descent and landing on Mars as calculated, JPL said.
Engineers can add weights to help balance the vehicle. Eventually, they placed nine tungsten weights in a total of 20 kg in the chassis at predetermined fixing points to give the correct center of gravity.
"The rotary table process is similar to how a gas station would balance a new tire before putting it in your car," said Lemil Cordero, a Mars 2020 mass asset engineer at JPL.
"We turn the rover back and forth looking for asymmetries in its mass distribution. Then, much like its service, by placing small weights on the edge of the tire to balance it, we place small balancing masses on the rover to get its center of gravity exactly where we want to, ”Lamb said.
According to JPL, the second and final pivot test will be held at NASA's Cape Canaveral, Florida facility next spring.
Built and operated by JPL engineers, the Mars 2020 rover will launch the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in July 2020 from space launch complex 41 in Cape Canaveral.
When the rover lands at Crater Lake on Mars on February 18, 2021, it will be the first spacecraft in the history of planetary exploration to accurately reset its landing point during a landing landing, JPL states.