After its wheels, the NASA’s Perseverance rover has now been fueled and attached with the Mars Helicopter, in preparation for its launch window between July 17-August 5.
According to NASA, the descent stage of the rover was fueled with hydrazine monopropellant to drive eight Mars landing engines. Landing engines, as the name suggests, will work to slow down the spacecraft’s descent on the Red Planet and also support the sky crane manoeuvre.
At 7,200 feet, the eight landing engines will slow the spacecraft down from 180 mph to 1.7 mph when it is 66 feet above the surface. At 25 feet, the spacecraft will start to roll out Nylon cords that will lower the Perseverance rover on the Martian surface. After touchdown, the cords are detached and the descent stage will fly away.
The Perseverance rover was then fitted with the delivery system for the Mars Helicopter. The first aircraft on another planet will remain encased within the delivery system for a while even after Perseverance rover lands.
Mars Helicopter will charge up with the help of the rover for about two-and-a-half months before it can fly autonomously. Afterwards, the helicopter will be powered via its own solar panel for the duration of its demonstration that can last up to 30 days.
The Perseverance Mars rover, with its launch window coming up, remains a priority for NASA amidst the coronavirus situation. With the mission to search for life, climate and geology on the Red Planet, the rover will study, explore and even collect samples.
The Perseverance rover, after being launched aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida will then land at the Jezero Crater, after about seven months of traversing the space on February 18, 2021.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech