When NASA’s Perseverance rover lands on the floor of the Crimson Planet subsequent Thursday, key Airbus know-how shall be on board: the MEDA meteorological station will present scientists with beneficial Mars climate information and the Excessive Achieve Antenna System will guarantee a high-speed comms hyperlink with Earth during the MARS2020 mission.
Perseverance will use seven scientific devices to review the Martian organic and geological atmosphere, together with the MEDA (Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyser) meteorological station, designed and constructed by Airbus.
The MEDA instrument will measure many environmental parameters utilizing sensors distributed throughout the rover: wind velocity and path, relative humidity, atmospheric strain, soil and air temperatures, photo voltaic radiation and likewise properties of suspended mud. These parameters may also be key when making the autonomous resolution to launch the Ingenuity helicopter on board the rover.
MEDA is the third Martian environmental station led by Airbus demonstrating its experience on this subject. The primary was on board the Curiosity rover in 2012, referred to as REMS (Rover Environmental Monitoring Station), and the second on InSight in 2018, known as TWINS (Temperature and Wind for InSight). Each had been profitable NASA / JPL missions.
All information from Perseverance’s discoveries shall be despatched to Earth via the excessive achieve antenna system (HGAS) additionally designed and constructed by Airbus, based mostly on an X-band transmitting and receiving antenna that can enable excessive velocity information communications. The antenna is predicated on microstrip know-how, developed in-house. It is protected against mud, to keep up clear circumstances and thermal stability.
The antenna will immediately ship scientific information generated by the completely different devices and knowledge on the well being standing of the rover, with out the necessity for intermediate hyperlinks (e.g. orbiters). As well as, the automobile will obtain every day directions from Earth with the duties of the day. Because the antenna is steerable, it may well ship a “beam” of knowledge pointing immediately on the Earth with out transferring the automobile, which contributes to vitality financial savings.
The acute thermal excursions on Mars required qualification of the antenna system at temperatures starting from -135ºC to + 90ºC with exhaustive thermal fatigue checks. This shall be Airbus’ second HGAS antenna system on Mars, with the primary nonetheless working flawlessly on board Curiosity eight years later.
Mars2020 is essentially the most formidable mission ever despatched to Mars as it’s going to study Martian rock and soil in better element than ever earlier than searching for proof of previous life on the planet and retailer, for his or her subsequent return to Earth, indicators or traces of previous life (bio-signatures). Likewise, it’s going to characterise the geological processes that make up the floor, and can measure the every day and seasonal evolution of the processes occurring within the Martian environment, together with the characterisation of suspended mud. Perseverance may also take a look at applied sciences to assist pave the way in which for future human exploration of Mars, similar to producing oxygen from carbon dioxide within the environment or the primary flight of a small helicopter on one other planet.