NASA's March 2020 mission will be its most ambitious journey on the red planet. The March 2020 rover is absolutely packed with the latest high-tech instruments and, although the mission does not begin until next summer, enthusiasm is growing.
NASA has recently begun hosting a live feed that allows viewers to have its engineers test and slowly assemble the components that will be facing the sky. As the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory says in a new blog post, the rover has just received a huge addition in the form of its mast, which is the iconic "face" of any rover.
The March 2020 rover mast is equipped with lenses and various sensors that will provide scientists back to Earth with a more detailed insight than ever about the Martian surface. However, the mast will actually be folded flat for the trip between Earth and Mars.
At the launch of Mars 2020, the interplanetary cruise and its fast and fierce descent to the Martian surface, the mast will be placed flat on the deck of the rover. Shortly after landing, the mast (whose maximum height is more than 2.2 meters) will be raised to offer a high boom to the SuperCam, Mastcam-Z and Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer instruments as well as 39 to four Navcam surveillance cameras.
It's a bunch of high-tech products that have to work perfectly, and putting everything in place takes time. According to JPL, the "selfie" above was broken on June 5 after the first mast attachment, but its various instruments took another six days to fully integrate.
The March 2020 mission is scheduled to begin on July 17, 2020, but it will not actually arrive on the red planet until February 2021. We still have a little wait in front of us, but once the device is running Red Planet, we will surely have surprising discoveries to share with us.