Perseverance Went Into Safe Mode Shortly After Launch, But it’s Fine

On Thursday, July 30th, NASA launched the most sophisticated Mars rover ever built atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.This mission includes the Perseverance rover (Curiosity‘s sister vehicle) and the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, both of which are being flown on a seven-month journey by the Mars 2020 spacecraft.

In a minor hiccup, the Mars 2020 spacecraft entered safe mode a few hours after launch, apparently due to a temperature anomaly. This was the conclusion reached by mission controllers after receiving telemetry data on the spacecraft via the NASA Deep Space Network. Luckily, the spacecraft is working nominally and is on its way toward Mars to join in the search for evidence of past (and present) life!

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Here’s How Perseverance’s Helicopter Sidekick Will Deploy on Mars

Flight model of the Mars Ingeuity Helicopter

When NASA’s new Perseverance Martian rover launches in a little over a month it will have a small robotic stow-away on board.  Ingenuity is a small helicopter, with a fuselage about the size of a softball and two extending rotors that measure about 4 feet across.  It was attached to the bottom of the rover’s chassis in April, and NASA recently released details about it’s technically challenging release process.

Before the team of NASA and Lockheed Martin engineers started designing the release mechanism though, they had to decide what Ingenuity’s mission would actually be.  Ultimately, the helicopter will serve as the first powered experimental test flight on any extraterrestrial body.  NASA is hoping it will be the first of many, leading to future helicopters on Mars that could allow mission scientists to peer into previously inaccessible places, such as craters and cliffs, from the air. If Ingenuity is successful, it could pave the way to many future air based scientific and scouting missions.

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