Twin Rover of optimism, perseverance is getting ready

On February 18, 2021, NASA’s Perseverance Rover will land on the Red Planet with instruments that can reveal traces of past lives. Ten days before arrival, spirits begin to warm up: it is not easy to land on Mars and only 40% of the machines launched towards this destination have arrived safely. This shows the difficulty of the task. But like NASA, we keep our fingers crossed and be optimistic. Optimism is also the chosen name for the twin rover of Perseverance, which will reproduce on Earth, with the machine’s most important maneuver. Placed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, it is fully operational.

Optimism, almost identical twins

Optimism Rover (“Operational Personality Twin for Integration of Mechanisms and Instruments to Mars”) is similar to its counterpart sent to Mars. Its size is the same location system, it travels at the same speed (0.15 km / h) and is equipped with the same equipment and software. However, as it develops on Earth, it has some adaptations: its wheels are stronger to support the Earth’s gravity. Instead of having a heating system to withstand cold Martian nights, a cooling system was installed to cope with California’s hot summer days. Finally, if the fixture is powered by a radiosotope thermoelectric generator, the optimism is connected via an “umbilical cord”, which also has an Ethernet cable, which allows engineering data without having to pass all commands and go through the system. Makes it possible to achieve.

Presentation of OPTIMISM Rover. Sincerely: NASA / JPL

But why build such a machine? Not to risk persistence, which will not have mechanics nearby to resolve any breakdowns! The bias is therefore the efficiency of commands before transmitting the rover to Mars, along with using OPTIMISM as a test bed to assess the performance of equipment and equipment.

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He joined Maggie in Mars Yard

Optimism is not the only test rover supporting Martian exploration. Since 2012, Curiosity Rover has successfully explored the slopes of Gayle Crater and Mount Sharp and also has its own twin on Earth named Maggie (“Mars Automated Giant Geosomain for Integrated Engineering)). Maggie has proved to be extremely valuable in preparing the curiosity to cope with the difficult route in rocky terrains. It was also on him that tests were done to develop new drilling techniques when an engine broke in 2016, preventing the drill from going down correctly. With success, since Curiosity was able to resume these sample collection and analysis activities. Optimistically, engineers in charge of perseverance expect similar services. A few weeks before the latter’s landing, Optimism went to Maggie to join the “Mars Yard”, a land set up at JPL to regenerate the surface of Mars. There, he waits for confirmation of the arrival of the fixture before starting his instruments.

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About the Author: Abbott Hopkins

Analyst. Amateur problem solver. Wannabe internet expert. Coffee geek. Tv guru. Award-winning communicator. Food nerd.

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