NASA recently confirmed that the Mars 2020 rover received all the permissions necessary. Soon, the developing team will begin fueling the rover, preparing the mission for its start in July 2020. The rover will be fueled using a nuclear battery that will both power the spacecraft and keep its temperature steady.
Mars 2020 rover is ready to receive its nuclear battery
The battery will fuel the rover’s Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG). MMRTG converts the decay of the radioisotope materials into electricity. According to Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA, the fueling process began at just the right time to keep the progression of the Mars 2020 rover on schedule.
John McNamee, Project Manager, said during a press release announcing the beginning of the fueling stage: “We are advancing on all fronts – including completion of the cruise stage that will guide us to Mars and the sky crane descent landing system that will gently lower us to the surface. And the rover is not only looking more and more like a rover each day, but it’s also acting like one.”
NASA used the same fueling method in 27 space missions
NASA is well familiar with the use of radioisotope power. This fueling method has been used in 27 U.S. space missions, including missions like Viking exploring the surface of Mars or New Horizons flying past Pluto. Some reports claim that the exterior of the rover is still under construction, while its interior is almost complete.
Last November, NASA made an announcement saying that Jexero Crater was chosen as the landing site for the rover. To reach this choice, NASA analyzed 60 different locations over five years to find the perfect match. The goal of the mission is not only to find habitable conditions on the Red Planet’s surface, but also to collect rock and soil samples.
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere