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.
Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.