Building for Mars

Mars 2020 Exploration Mission Guide

A look inside the High Bay 1 clean room in JPL’s Spacecraft Assembly Facility where Mars 2020 hardware is being assembled. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The planning and construction of a new space mission is a multi-year process by both the space agency itself and a large number of other contractors working on the spacecraft’s hardware and software, to the rocket launching the interplanetary probe toward its target. Here we’ve assembled a gallery of the Mars 2020 rover and helicopter throughout the process of getting ready for their upcoming mission.

Engineers and technicians work to connect a motor controller assembly into the body of the Perseverance rover. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Engineers prepare to install the mobility suspension (legs and wheels) onto the rover. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Portions of the Sample Caching System are installed to the front end of the rover. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The Remote Sensing Mast (the rover’s head and eyes) cover is installed. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Members of the NASA Mars Helicopter project discuss the sequence of events for that day’s flight testing. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The Ingenuity helicopter undergoes functional testing on a stand inside KSC’s Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility. Credit: NASA/Cory Huston
A solar intensity probe is used by an engineer to measure the amount of sunlight that will reach different portions of the rover. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Engineers prepare the spacecraft for a thermal vacuum test in the Space Simulator Facility. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The media ventures inside JPL’s clean room for their only opportunity to see the rover before it leaves California to ship to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Engineers attach the Ingenuity helicopter to the belly of the rover. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The Ingenuity helicopter, lower center of the image, is seen attached to the belly of the rover. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The rover is inverted and spun during a test of its mass protectives. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
A gift-wrapped wheel for Mars. The protective antistatic foil will be removed before launch. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Looking on as a crane lifts the rocket-powered descent stage away from the rover after a test. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Checking connections between the spacecraft’s back shell and cruise stage. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The aeroshell is spun to measure its center of gravity. Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Prepping Perseverance descent and entry components. Credit: NASA/Christian Mangano
Encapsulating the Mars 2020 payload between the twin rocket fairings. Credit: NASA
Positioning a solid rocket booster for mating to the Atlas V rocket’s main body. Credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky
Crane stands ready to lift the payload fairing containing Perseverance and Ingenuity. Credit: NASA/KSC
This article appeared in the 15th issue of RocketSTEM magazine.

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