Pictures of EDL Particles – NASA Mars


When Perseverance landed on Mars on February 18, 2021, the entry, descent and touchdown (EDL) {hardware} was left on the floor at a secure distance away from the rover.

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Persistence rover touchdown and landing on Mars: Onboard digicam view:
NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance mission captured thrilling footage of its rover touchdown at Mars’ Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Obtain video J >

A few of that EDL {hardware} was later characterised by persistence and ingenuity. For instance on Sol 414 (April 19, 2022), the Ingenuity helicopter returned an in depth shade picture of the deserted parachute and backshell situated 1 km northwest of the touchdown website.

The rover’s backshell as seen from the air: Sol 414 (April 19, 2022) Helicopter shade digicam picture of the parachute and backshell crash website. credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech. obtain picture >

A number of the EDL {hardware} broke into small items upon impacting the floor. These items of EDL particles have been seen in photos of the Hogwalo Flats space, which is situated roughly 2 km to the northwest of the EDL {hardware} crash zone. As of Sol 508 (July 24, 2022), the operations crew has cataloged about half a dozen items of suspected EDL particles within the space. A few of these EDL particles are actively flying within the air. To date, we have seen shiny items of thermal blanket materials, a dacron netting materials that can be utilized in thermal blankets, and a string-like materials that we think about to be a potential piece of shredded dacron netting.

We first started seeing EDL particles within the Hogwall Flats on Sol 411 (April 16, 2022) whereas the Persistence rover was nonetheless within the Three Forks space of ​​Jezero Crater. We noticed unusually shiny materials in a Mastcam-Z picture of the encircling hills, about 400 meters northwest of the rover. The brilliant materials coated 6 pixels within the totally zoomed Mastcam-Z photos, which corresponded to about ~15 cm in measurement. The fabric was given a descriptive title: “shiny materials”. On the time nobody knew what it was, however maybe the rover might be watching carefully because it climbs over Delta within the coming weeks.

NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using its Left Mastcam-Z camera.  The Mastcam-Z is a pair of cameras located high on the rover's mast.
Mars Persistence Sol 411 – Left Mastcam-Z Digicam: Sol 411 (April 16, 2022) Mastcam-Z picture exhibiting shiny materials. credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU. obtain picture >

Just a few weeks later, Perseverance entered the Hogwallow Flats space and achieved a high-resolution, 360-degree Mastcam-Z panorama. As these photos have been being downlinked from Earth, a science crew member in Europe seen shiny materials (at 2:50 a.m. Pacific time) within the Sol 467 (June 12, 2022) Mastcam-Z picture and instantly steered On condition that it might be an entry, descent and touchdown (EDL) system particles. This was confirmed later that morning by the EDL {hardware} crew at JPL: Persistence had painted a bit of multi-layer insulation (MLI) from the Skycrane, which flew away from Perseverance’s touchdown website after landing, making certain that it’s going to crash safely. The dot sample on the fabric from the rover matches the sample of the thermal blanket put in on the spacecraft. Blankets have been made in one in every of two varieties: Perforated Aluminized Kapton (PAK) or Mylar – the brilliant materials being one in every of these two supplies. Later photos of the blanket confirmed that it was strapped to a rock and might be seen fluttering within the air.

Thriller solved! properly type of. How did that materials get to Hogwallow Flats? The Skycrane crash website is situated 2 km to the southeast. It’s potential that the power of the Skycrane crash might have first ejected the fabric into the air earlier than settling within the Hogwalo Flats space. And among the smaller items might have been ballistically ejected by chance. However it seems that the fabric was blown away by the wind over the course of a number of days or perhaps weeks.

NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using its Left Mastcam-Z camera.  The Mastcam-Z is a pair of cameras located high on the rover's mast.
Mars Persistence Sol 467 – Left Mastcam-Z Digicam: NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover acquired this picture utilizing its Left Mastcam-Z digicam. The Mastcam-Z is a pair of cameras situated excessive on the rover’s mast. This picture was obtained on June 13, 2022 (Sol 467) at 10:05:17 native imply photo voltaic time. credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU. obtain picture >

NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using its onboard Left Navigation Camera (Navcam).  The camera is located high on the rover's mast and assists in driving.
NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using its onboard Left Navigation Camera (Navcam).  The camera is located high on the rover's mast and assists in driving.
MLI blanket flaps within the wind: credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
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This image from one of the Rear Hazard Camera, or Hazcam, aboard NASA's Perseverance Mars rover shows a smoky look from the crashed descent stage that lowered the rover to the Martian surface.
Black and white: smoke plumes from the descent stage of persistence: Rear Hazcam picture of the Skycrane impression plume on Mars, Sol 0 (February 18, 2021). credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech. obtain picture >

As extra photos from the Hogwall Flats space have been despatched again to Earth, extra items of EDL particles have been seen by operations groups. Sol 474 (June 20, 2022) The Navcam photos beneath present a bit of particles transferring from place to position over the course of per week. The form of that individual materials was uncommon and was not definitively recognized till the Mastcam-Z high-resolution picture captured it on Sol 477 (June 23, 2022). The particles was confirmed to be a bit of Dacron netting materials, generally utilized in thermal blankets (see subsequent determine).

Mars Persistence Sol 474 – Left Navigation Digicam: credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
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NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using its Right Mastcam-Z camera.  The Mastcam-Z is a pair of cameras located high on the rover's mast.
Mars Persistence Sol 477 – Proper Mastcam-Z Digicam: Sol 477 (June 23, 2022) Navcam picture (high) and Mastcam-Z picture (backside) of Dacron Internet materials, about 3 by 4 cm. credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU. obtain picture >

Three weeks later, an object that appeared as a ball of nodular, string-like materials flew out from beneath the entrance of the rover (Sol 495, July 11, 2022 entrance Hezcam picture, beneath). Earlier than the string might be imaged by the high-resolution Mastcam-Z cameras, the string was blown away by the wind (second picture, beneath). {Hardware} groups suspect it is the 2x2mm . There may be one other piece of Dacron netting on the base of2 Grid mesh sample. They famous that this specific piece of netting appeared to have settled/sheared considerably, suggesting that it was topic to stronger forces (see entrance Hazcam picture of the Skycrane EDL plume).

NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image of the area in front of it using its onboard Front Left Hazard Avoidance Camera A.
NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image of the area in front of it using its onboard Front Left Hazard Avoidance Camera A.
Mars Persistence Sol 495 – Entrance Left Hazard Avoidance Digicam: Sol 495 entrance Hezcam picture (high, and backside picture, cropped, for reference) exhibiting a string-like materials, about 6 cm throughout. credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
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Hogwall Flats seems to be a pure assortment level for windblown EDL particles. Members of the Persistence crew are reviewing photos of the particles, checking to see if the fabric might have served as a possible contamination supply for the pattern tubes from this space. Though no rapid considerations have been recognized by the groups presently, groups are documenting the contents of the EDL particles as they’re recognized. Moreover, the rover carries a set of Witness tubes, that are tubes containing preloaded materials, systematically uncovered to the Martian and rover environments to offer additional documentation of pattern cleanliness. Engineers have additionally thought of the chance that EDL particles might be a supply of rover entanglement threat and concluded that such threat is low.

It needs to be famous that particles left behind on house missions is frequent. Early within the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, the Curiosity rover walked close to a suspected EDL particles area and noticed a number of fragments of shiny materials believed to be from the EDL system (see determine). Nevertheless, not one of the MSL materials was definitively recognized as EDL particles as a result of lack of particulars within the photos.

This image from the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows a small bright object on the ground next to the rover "rocknesto" site.
Small particles on the bottom aside from Curiosity: This picture from the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) digicam on NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity exhibits a small shiny object on the bottom subsequent to the rover on the “Rocknest” website. credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS. obtain picture >

The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Alternative rover imaged a heatshield near the floor mission’s Sol 335 (January 2, 2004). These photos revealed a particles area that spanned a number of metres, and included burnt heatshield materials, steel springs, and thermal blanket materials. The Curiosity photos additionally confirmed a rock (“heatshield rock”) regarded as a meteorite—the unique model of EDL particles.

This image from Opportunity's Panoramic Camera features the remnants of the heat shield that protects the rover from temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit as it makes its way into the Martian atmosphere.
Warmth Defend of Alternative in Color, Sol 335: Alternative picture of the MER-B heatshield and particles area, acquired at Sol 335 (January 2, 2004). A suspected meteorite may be seen within the background to the left of the heatshield. A steel spring may be seen within the foreground in entrance of the heatshield. credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell. obtain picture >

So what does this imply for Perseverance and future missions? As digicam expertise continues to enhance, imaging groups on future missions will have the ability to extra simply determine EDL particles in photos. Engineers designing EDL {hardware} for future missions might want to think about the impression (actually) of their designs on each Mars and mission necessities. Within the meantime, as Perseverance continues to gather samples for eventual return to Earth, the Perseverance Imaging Staff will proceed to evaluate photos of the terrain for potential sources of EDL particles. The sampling crew may even proceed to watch potential sources of contamination to make sure the integrity of the returned pattern cache.



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