Perseverance at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerJet Propulsion Laboratory
Launch mass1,025 kg (2,260 lb)
Dimensions3 × 2.7 × 2.2 m (9.8 × 8.9 × 7.2 ft)
Power110 watts (0.15 hp)
Start of mission
Entered serviceFebruary 18, 2021 (planned)

Perseverance is a Mars rover manufactured by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for use in NASA's Mars 2020 mission. Nearly identical in design to the Curiosity rover, Perseverance will carry seven scientific instruments to study the Martian surface at Jezero crater, 23 cameras in total, and two microphones. The rover will also be accompanied by the helicopter Ingenuity, which will help Perseverance to scout for locations to study.


Curiosity's engineering team were involved in the rover's design.[1][2] Engineers redesigned the Perseverance rover wheels to be more robust than Curiosity's wheels, which have sustained some damage.[3] The rover will have thicker, more durable aluminum wheels, with reduced width and a greater diameter (52.5 cm, 20.7 in) than Curiosity's 50 cm (20 in) wheels.[4][5] The aluminum wheels are covered with cleats for traction and curved titanium spokes for springy support.[6] The combination of the larger instrument suite, new Sampling and Caching System, and modified wheels makes Perseverance heavier than its predecessor, Curiosity,[5] by 17% (899 kg to 1050 kg). The rover will include a five-jointed robotic arm measuring 7 feet (2.1 m) long. The arm will be used in combination with a turret to analyze geologic samples from the Martian surface.[7]

The rover's generator (MMRTG) has a mass of 45 kilograms (99 lb) and uses 4.8 kilograms (11 lb) of plutonium dioxide as the source of steady supply of heat that is converted to electricity.[8] The electrical power generated is approximately 110 watts at launch with little decrease over the mission time.[8] Two lithium-ion rechargeable batteries are included to meet peak demands of rover activities when the demand temporarily exceeds the MMRTG's steady electrical output levels. The MMRTG offers a 14-year operational lifetime, and it was provided to NASA by the US Department of Energy.[8] Unlike solar panels, the MMRTG provides engineers with significant flexibility in operating the rover's instruments even at night and during dust storms, and through the winter season.[8]


Diagram illustrating the locations of scientific instruments aboard Perseverance

Based on the scientific objectives, nearly 60 proposals[9][10] for rover instrumentation were evaluated and, on 31 July 2014, NASA announced the payload for the rover.[11][12]

  • Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE), an exploration technology investigation that will produce a small amount of oxygen (O
    ) from Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO
    ).[19] This technology could be scaled up in the future for human life support or to make the rocket fuel for return missions.[19]
  • SuperCam, an instrument suite that can provide imaging, chemical composition analysis, and mineralogy in rocks and regolith from a distance. It is an upgraded version of the ChemCam on the Curiosity rover but with two lasers and four spectrometers that will allow it to remotely identify biosignatures and assess the past habitability. Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology (IRAP) in France, the French Space Agency (CNES), the University of Hawaii, and the University of Valladolid in Spain cooperated in the SuperCam's development and manufacture.[20]
  • Mastcam-Z, a stereoscopic imaging system with the ability to zoom.
  • Mars Helicopter Ingenuity is a solar-powered helicopter drone with a mass of 1.8 kg (4.0 lb) that will be tested for flight stability and for its potential to scout the best driving route for the rover.[23] Other than cameras, it carries no scientific instruments. Its job is merely to demonstrate the practicality of flight on Mars.[24] The small helicopter is expected to fly up to five times during its 30-day testing and will fly no more than 3 minutes per day. It is a technology demonstrator that will form the foundation on which more capable helicopters can be developed for aerial exploration of Mars and other planetary targets with an atmosphere.[25][26]
  • Two[27] microphones will be used during the landing event, while driving, and when collecting samples.[28]
  • 23 cameras in total are included in the Perseverance rover.[29]

See also


  1. ^ Harwood, William (December 4, 2012). "NASA announces plans for new $1.5 billion Mars rover". CNET. Retrieved December 5, 2012. Using spare parts and mission plans developed for NASA's Curiosity Mars rover, Ronnie Pickering says it can launch the rover in 2020 and stay within current budget guidelines.
  2. ^ Wall, Mike (December 4, 2012). "NASA to Launch New Mars Rover in 2020". Retrieved December 5, 2012.
  3. ^ Lakdawalla, Emily (August 19, 2014). "Curiosity wheel damage: The problem and solutions". The Planetary Society. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  4. ^ Gebhardt, Chris. "Mars 2020 rover receives upgraded eyesight for tricky skycrane landing". Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Mars 2020 – Body: New Wheels for Mars 2020". NASA/JPL. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  6. ^ "Mars 2020 Rover – Wheels". NASA. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  7. ^ "Mars 2020 Rover's 7-Foot-Long Robotic Arm Installed". June 28, 2019. Retrieved July 1, 2019. The main arm includes five electrical motors and five joints (known as the shoulder azimuth joint, shoulder elevation joint, elbow joint, wrist joint and turret joint). Measuring 7 feet (2.1 meters) long, the arm will allow the rover to work as a human geologist would: by holding and using science tools with its turret, which is essentially its "hand."
  8. ^ a b c d "Mars 2020 Rover Tech Specs". JPL/NASA. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  9. ^ Webster, Guy; Brown, Dwayne (January 21, 2014). "NASA Receives Mars 2020 Rover Instrument Proposals for Evaluation". NASA. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  10. ^ Timmer, John (July 31, 2014). "NASA announces the instruments for the next Mars rover". ARS Technica. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  11. ^ Brown, Dwayne (July 31, 2014). "Release 14-208 – NASA Announces Mars 2020 Rover Payload to Explore the Red Planet as Never Before". NASA. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  12. ^ Brown, Dwayne (July 31, 2014). "NASA Announces Mars 2020 Rover Payload to Explore the Red Planet as Never Before". NASA. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  13. ^ Webster, Guy (July 31, 2014). "Mars 2020 Rover's PIXL to Focus X-Rays on Tiny Targets". NASA. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  14. ^ "Adaptive sampling for rover x-ray lithochemistry" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 August 2014.
  15. ^ "RIMFAX, The Radar Imager for Mars' Subsurface Experiment". NASA. July 2016. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  16. ^ Chung, Emily (August 19, 2014). "Mars 2020 rover's RIMFAX radar will 'see' deep underground". Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  17. ^ U of T scientist to play key role on Mars 2020 Rover Mission
  18. ^ In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Archived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. GCD-NASA.
  19. ^ a b Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). "Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE)". NASA TechPort. NASA. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  20. ^ "NASA Administrator Signs Agreements to Advance Agency's Journey to Mars". NASA. June 16, 2015.
  21. ^ Webster, Guy (July 31, 2014). "SHERLOC to Micro-Map Mars Minerals and Carbon Rings". NASA. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  22. ^ "SHERLOC: Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals, an Investigation for 2020" (PDF).
  23. ^ Mars Helicopter to Fly on NASA's Next Red Planet Rover Mission. NASA News. 11 May 2018.
  24. ^ "Mars mission readies tiny chopper for Red Planet flight". BBC News. August 29, 2019.
  25. ^ Chang, Kenneth. "A Helicopter on Mars? NASA Wants to Try". The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  26. ^ Gush, Loren (May 11, 2018). "NASA is sending a helicopter to Mars to get a bird's-eye view of the planet – The Mars Helicopter is happening, y'all". The Verge. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  27. ^ "Microphones on Mars 2020". NASA. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  28. ^ Strickland, Ashley (July 15, 2016). "New Mars 2020 rover will be able to 'hear' the Red Planet". CNN News.
  29. ^ "NASA's 2020 Mars rover to have 23 'eyes'". The Times of India. Press Trust of India. November 1, 2017.

External links