Will the future Martian rover break when landing?

Will the future Martian rover break when landing?

Only a small part of the missions to the Red Planet has been completed successfully, so the European Space Agency is testing designs to minimize the possibility of falling.

Landing on Mars requires cunning. A thin atmosphere, a distant planet and heavy spacecraft - all this makes it difficult to land on the surface. In recent years, only a small percentage of the Mars missions have successfully landed. At least remember the European team Schiaparelli, who lost the boarding module a few minutes before the descent in 2016.

Then the Schiaparelli accident was not caused by problems with the landing system, but ESA and other teams are always looking for ways to make landing easier. Instead of the usual landing legs or airbags, they offer a percussion landing machine made of alumelnyv filler with a polyethylene coating.

“This design will be used for small flights with a high fall rate,” said Silvio Schröder of the German Aerospace Center. The shock module can be used in PhoDEx - the proposed mission to Phobos, one of two satellites of Mars. ESA has not yet confirmed the mission, but is considering this option. A similar design was proposed for Schiaparelli, but the boarding module did not respond to the plan and crashed. The MASCOT (asteroid mobile surface reconnaissance) drums also fly to Ryugu asteroid with the Hayabus II mission, where it will be tested upon arrival in 2018

The newer version of the researchers checked for operation in the laboratory in order to understand how it would work in various conditions.

Until that time, 12 crash tests with simulated spacecraft were conducted, including the use of vertical and horizontal speed, as well as a landing with a 10-degree inclination. The results were recorded using high-speed cameras. In addition, various measurements were made, for example, to determine the depth of impact.

In order to simulate the landing predictions, we had to do a lot of testing, and we also checked the results from the laboratory. The researchers noted that the laboratory and test indicators are basically the same.

“Simulations and tests proved the system design of the concept of a sustainable landing gear without landing sites,” the researchers wrote. “The test setup can deliver the boarding module to the right landing site and at the right speed.” They also added: “In all the scenarios, we did not reveal significant damage to the surface. Although there was no sustainability test (tipping prevention), the platform responded steadily in any setting. ”

Will the future Martian rover break when landing?

Curiosity Sky Crane maneuver used in 2012.

Schroeder said that future tests will try to improve the performance in a collision due to "the use of other materials of the internal structure." He cannot disclose the details so that there are no competitive patents on technology.

The next European Martian mission will be the landing of the ExoMars rover, but they are going to use a more traditional system. Rover will start in 2020, but with the landing site is not yet determined. It is expected that the Russian landing platform of the rover will use air brakes, which include parachutes and engines for reaching the surface.

Some successful landings had retro engines used by NASA’s Viking landings in the 1970s, as well as Pathfinder, Spirit and Opportunity in the 1990s and 2000s, and the “crane” used by Curiosity in 2012 (the engine to slow down).

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