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NASA starts MEDLI2 installation on Mars 2020 aeroshell

04 August 2019 [11:18] - TODAY.AZ

By Trend

NASA engineers started to install hardware onto NASA's Mars 2020 entry vehicle this week, which will help to increase the safety of future Mars landings, said a latest release of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Trend reports citing Xinhua.

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, according to the JPL.

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.

MEDLI2 recently completed environmental testing on flight hardware at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

The testing, including vibration and thermal vacuum testing, demonstrates the ability of the hardware to survive the large vibratory loads experienced during the launch and the extreme cold during the cruise to Mars, said the JPL.

All of the MEDLI2 components are set to be completely installed on the Mars 2020 aeroshell by the end of November 2019, according to the JPL.

Mars 2020 rover is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in July 2020, and land at Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021.

It will be the first spacecraft in the history of planetary exploration with the ability to accurately retarget its point of touchdown during the landing sequence -- technology that could prove essential to future crewed missions to the Moon and Mars, according to the JPL.


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