NASA Mars Rover Perseverance Has Taken a Short Drive after Touching Down
Updated: Feb 24
Perseverance, the centerpiece of NASA's $2.7 billion Mars 2020 mission, touched down inside the Red Planet's Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021. Never has a science mission gone to the planet with so sophisticated a suite of instruments; never has a robot been targeted at so promising a location. Once it was fully up and running, the car-sized robot started to search for evidence of past microbial life and collect several dozen samples for future return to Earth, among other ambitious tasks. The robotic explorer is largely based off its predecessor, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, which landed in August 2012 and is still going strong today. Like Curiosity, Perseverance has a rectangular body, 6 wheels, a robotic arm, a drill for sampling rocks, 23 cameras and scientific instruments. Founded in 2014, Motiv Space Systems takes participation in designing both ground and space-rated robotic solutions for a range of application demands. Motiv provides robotic arms, Mastcam-Z cameras, filter wheels and force-torque sensors, which allow Perseverance to complete its mission. Maxar Technologies (NYSE: MAXR), the combination of MDA and DigitalGlobe, provides robotic arms to Perseverance, after serving five previous NASA Mars projects. Maxon Motor, a Swiss private company of which a board member is also in the Advisory Board of RoboCap LLP, is powering the robot as well as the drone attached to the underside of the rover.