NASA’s Mars 2020 stood on its legs and wheels for the first time

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has published a time-lapse video showing NASA’s Mars 2020 rover has taken its full weight on its wheels and legs for the first time.

NASA Mars 2020 Rover is a large planetary rover created on the Curiosity platform. Just like its predecessor, the new rover is equipped with six wheels. At the same time, it will include improved onboard equipment and a wide range of scientific instruments.

The “legs” of the rover are made of titanium, and the wheels are made of aluminum. The wheels are 20.7 inches (52.5 centimeters) in diameter, each equipped with its own engine. Two front and two rear wheels also have auxiliary steering engines, which allow the rover to maneuver and deploy full 360 degrees in place.

Also, there is a special suspension system that will provide approximately the same load on each wheel when driving on the rough terrain on Mars. The Mars 2020 Rover is able to withstand a 45-degree tilt in any direction without tipping. This will reduce the chance of damage.

After years of design, analysis, and testing, it is fantastic to see the rover on her wheels for the first time,” said Ben Riggs, a mechanical systems engineer working on Mars 2020 at JPL. “The whole team looks forward to seeing her in the same configuration on Mars in the not too distant future.

The launch of the six-wheeled robotic exploration platform on the Red Planet is scheduled in July 2020. The rover will land on February 18, 2021, in the Jesero Crater.

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