Perseverance Mars Rover Mission Engineering & Science Briefing
Allowed us to, literally, go back in time on mars. The first picture will cover an area of, 176. Miles, mariner, 4 began, transmitting, back images, the first. Photograph. That a human being has ever, seen from the surface, of another planet, on august 20th, 1975. The first viking spaceship, was launched, you were, seeing, something, that no other human has, ever seen before. Former seas, and mountains. Huge, canyons. That sense of wonderment, and achievement, and always. Working towards your goal. We can do, and we will do. And liftoff. Mars, is unavoidably. Special. We've landed, and we've scooped, we've roved, we've orbited. Together. We did it but the attitude, was together, we can do it. The future is what you make out of it, you can make it real. And here we are with mars, perseverance. 51, years later getting ready to do the first ever, mars, return, mission. Eventually. We can bring those samples, back to earth, and determine, for the very first time. Did life exist on mars. I'm dc eagle of nasa's jet propulsion, laboratory. In southern california. We're here at the kennedy space center to talk about nasa's. Next mission to the red planet. Mars 2020, and the perseverance. Rover. And we're going to be talking about the science and engineering, that's going to make this mission a great mission. Here to talk about mars 2020, we have today. Lori glaze. The director. Of the planetary, science division. At nasa headquarters. In washington. And across the country. We have with us. Jennifer, trosper. The deputy, project manager for mars 2020. At jpl. Also at jpl, we have. Farah, alibay. And she's a mobility, engineer, for mars 2020. And she's of course also at jpl. Now back here, at the kennedy space center media site we have. Ken farley. Who is the project scientist, for mars 2020. And, he is from caltech. Finally we have tanya bozak. And she's a mars 2020, scientist. From mit. So we're going to start things out with lori glaze lori. Great. Thanks. D.c. So. As tc says i'm the director for the planetary, science division, at nasa. And the main goal, of nasa's, planetary. Program, is to explore, the solar, system. To help us answer important, questions about how the planets, formed and how they evolved. And of course there's a lot of really, special, places to go throughout the solar system but mars has always held a special, place. In that exploration. If i could have the first. Graphic, please. Going back, to. The mariner, missions, the mariner flybys. And the viking landings. Mars has always held that special place, up through even our current missions. The current series, of orbiters, and landers, and rovers that are currently, operating, on the surface, today. And of course leading up, to, uh to perseverance. Which is about to launch. Some of the reasons why we've always found mars to just be such a special place and so fascinating, for one. It's relatively, accessible, it's relatively, close in the solar system. We can get there we can arrive in a matter of about six to seven months. So that's relatively, short on the planetary. Exploration, time scale. But in addition it also, holds a lot of really unique scientific. Value. Particularly, for trying to understand, planets, with rocky surfaces, and planets with atmospheres. Helping us understand, how they form and evolve and help us better understand. Our own history. On earth. Mars preserves, on its surface. Some incredibly, complex, and diverse, geology. On earth of course our crust is constantly, recycled. Weathered and eroded. And so it's very hard to find places that have preserved, that history from billions of years ago and yet on mars we can find places, where we see that full breadth of history. Preserved, onto the surface, on the surface. It also of course is a planet with an atmosphere, it has a climate. Just like earth has a climate. And much like earth the climate on mars has changed, over time and so by understanding. When and how that climate has changed helps us better understand, our own climate, evolution, on earth. It's also a place where. On the surface since it's so old it's preserved, we've also understood, that in the last, uh, few, about 20 years we've come to better understand, that, the surface of mars was actually probably much warmer, and wetter, in the past with a denser, atmosphere. And that perhaps, several billion years ago. Life could have possibly, taken form, on, mars, as well similar as it did on earth, and by going back, to, mars we might be able to find, evidence, of when life could have taken place or could have taken hold, on mars this is a study of astrobiology.
Of Understanding, the environments, that could support life and understanding, if and when life can actually come to be. And march 2020, perseverance, is in fact our first, mission, from nasa that's specifically, designed, to answer these astrobiology. Questions. On mars. If i could have the next graphic please. But everyone will tell you that this is an incredibly, complex. Mission, but they didn't do it alone all of those that worked on this mission, are. Leaning, on, the legacy, of all those rovers that have come before, from sojourner, to spirit and opportunity. To curiosity. And now to perseverance. We're building on that legacy of what's come before, but perseverance, is also laying the groundwork, for what comes, next, you're going to hear a lot today about the incredible, science, that perseverance, is going to do on the surface of mars. And about its main goal which is to collect some samples to bring back, to earth in the future. And our next big mission of course is going to be mars sample return where we plan to. Execute, the first ever round trip to mars, and execute, the first ever launch from the surface of another planet. And that whole mission we focus on trying to bring those samples those very precious samples back to earth where we can analyze them here with our, uh, incredibly, capable, uh laboratories, here on earth, and all of this is also then leading towards, potential, human exploration, come in the coming decades. We've got specific, technologies. On the perseverance, rover that you'll hear about, that are also going to be talking about that will be demonstrating, these core capabilities, that we're going to need in order to support, human exploration. In those coming decades, and i wanted to just give a plug real quick for two more, uh. Conference press conferences that will be held tomorrow, afternoon, uh for both the technologies, and for mars sample return if you want to learn more about those two things as well. And so right now what i'd like to do is hand it over to jennifer trosper who's actually worked on all five of the rovers. That have successfully. Uh. Been delivered, to mars by nasa and jpl. Um jennifer, is the, deputy project scientist, for surface operations, she's going to tell us a little bit more about the rovers, themselves, the river itself, and about, what we're going to do once we get to mars. Thanks lori. Well it's great to be here today, and, i'm very excited, to tell you about our new rover perseverance. But i have to look back and say. You know as a as a farm girl, on a growing up in ohio, it, it took me a while to get the rover bug now i've worked on all of these rovers. But i didn't work on robotics, growing, up but in 1997. I had the opportunity. To be part of the mars pathfinder, team with the sojourner, rover. And ever since that day when we landed on mars and i. I saw the fun and the excitement, and the, and the i got the bug of exploration. And so now i've worked on every mars rover it's been a privilege, not just to work on the rovers. But also to work with the great teams, that build these rovers, and today i'm going to tell you about our next great rover. Perseverance. Now go ahead and show the first slide. The first slide, shows. Our predecessor. Rovers, you see the small rover is sojourner, over the one i just talked about, and then we have spirit and opportunity. The mid-size, go-kart, rover. And then curiosity. Which is more like a small, car and now we have, perseverance. And as i look back. Over my career, of working on these rovers. It's exciting, to see how we just incrementally. Built up the capabilities. Of the engineering, and the science. To have this enormously. Capable, rover today called perseverance. This, i'm going to talk a little bit about, what those capabilities. Are i would say perseverance. Is unique. In that all of her capabilities. Are very much focused. On her science, mission, now her science mission, is, challenging. She needs to go, explore. Find. Select. Actually, core, and cash, samples, for future return to earth, and so we've needed to add a lot of new things to perseverance. To make her able to do that, and we want her to do that in a location. That is interesting, enough, to find samples, that we want to bring back to earth. And so that brought us to needing to add our first, new technology. Our first new technology, was terrain, relative navigation. Now. We leveraged, a lot of the curiosity. Entry descent and landing system. But when ken farley and the science team, decided, that they wanted to land at jezreel, crater. We realized, that the current sky crane landing system. Would not land us there safely enough, and so you know you can kind of think if it's more scientifically.
Interesting, Then it has more engineering, hazards. So you can go here to my next graphic, which shows what terrain relative, navigation. Is, the engineering, team. You know got on board to say well we need to make this landing site safe, and so we, added what is essentially. Our astronaut. That we take to mars, that steers, us away from hazards, and we call it terrain, relative navigation. We can't take an astronaut. So, we load. Mars orbital maps that we get from the orbiters, that are marked with hazards. And then we use a camera, to take pictures, as we're descending. Onto mars and then we compare, those figure out where we are in the map, and then divert, by firing, engines, to get away from the hazards so that we can land safely, so this new technology. Allows us to land in jezreel, crater which is where the science team wants to go to do this investigation. Now another. Interesting, part of entry descent and landing now entry descent and landing is always, harrowing, it's, it's hard right it's it's, mars is 100 million miles away, you start at 12. 12 000 miles per hour at the top of the atmosphere. You have to get to zero seven minutes later. And so it's a nail-biting. Thing and we've added something. To, uh, perseverance. Which is especially, cool so that we will get a front row seat. The vehicle, actually has the ability to take selfies. As it's going through the entry descent and landing, process. Go ahead and show my next slide. This shows you where the cameras, are, that we have added, to take pictures, as we're descending. Onto the surface of mars. We have parachute, up, cameras, that will watch the parachute, inflation. On the descent stage we have some down light cameras, that will watch the rover go down on the sky crane. On the rover we have upload and download, cameras the upload cameras watch the descent stage and we'll get the fly away moment, which is awesome, and then, the the download cameras will watch the surface. As we're placed on the ground on mars. Very exciting we also have a microphone. On the rover so we're listening. To ourselves. As we go through the atmosphere, of mars we're listening, to the the pyro firings, and, the hardware being released. It's going to be one of the most exciting, things that happens, early in this mission. And i'm really looking forward to it we'll record all that data, and then we'll send it back shortly after landing. Now the next thing, that's exciting, about this, you know entry setting landing is always exciting, but it's only seven minutes. And my personal favorite part of the mission, is the surface, mission, which for perseverance. Is going to last. For a mars year which is about two earth years. And, this perseverance. Mission has to do, the equivalent. Of about what curiosity. Did four times what curiosity. Did. In the same amount of time, and so we've had to do a lot of things. To make it smarter, and so go ahead and bring up my next. Slide. You can see that. This is, one of the things that we've done to make it smarter, and have better sensing. Is we've added some cameras, you can see we have 23, cameras on the rover. And, some of the new cameras, we've added we have, new, double e cams that are our navigation, cameras, that we use for autonomous, driving. They're now color they're twice. Twice the field of view twice the resolution. As the curiosity. Cameras we also have added, better cameras to the front of the rover the hazard. Cameras, which we use to actually place the arm, very accurately. We even have a camera, inside the rover that takes images of the samples, before we seal them off, so we have lots of great sensors. And another thing that we do to make the rover smarter, is we add a lot of software, and computers. So if you can go on to my next graphic. I can show you a little bit, about what makes the rover smart. The rover, has, about 13. Different, computing, and processors. It has. Dozens, of electronics.
Boxes, I can't show you the software, and the algorithms, that make it smart, but this is the inside. Of the rover, the the back of the river is to the right, the front of the rover is to the left and you can't even see the full sample caching system which is another. Extraordinarily. Complex, part of the rover. If you were to take all the cables, inside the rover. It would um it would be about three and a half miles, long, so it's a very complicated. Vehicle. But we've made it smarter. The things that we've done to make it smarter some of the new algorithms, i talked about terrain relative navigation. We've also added, a new auto navigation, algorithm, so that we can actually. Drive, autonomously. Through, more difficult, terrains, that have more rocks. We've added a capability. For higher compression, so that we can get more data down to the ground. We've added a capability, so that after the rover drives. It can stop, check for hazards, and if there are no hazards it can actually deploy, the arm out, and take some images and send those back to earth so that we don't have to wait for the next day and it speeds things up. We've also made some significant, upgrades to our operations, system. We have cloud-based. Tools that allow the science, team to do collaboration. Around targeting, and visualization. And we're much more efficient, at simulating, and validating, those sequences, because we have to send those to the rover. Every single day. And now, if you'll go ahead to my my next slide which is my, final, image. I love this image because it shows the rover. Folded, up, ready to go. On its way to mars, but it also, shows. The preeminent. New capability, that we've built on this rover which is the sampling, system. If you look at the front of the rover, you see the cage-like, feature that's the core. That cores the samples. From the surface of mars. You'll also, see the robotic, arm you can see the forearm, and the upper arm, that have the mars 2020, and the perseverance. Plates, on them. You'll also be able to see the, the, bit carousel, which is sort of in the center the round thing. A couple other things to say about this image, the wheels are covered, with anti-static. Wrap and we do take that off before launch so no worries there, and then you can see the rover's upside down in this picture so you see the mast is actually stowed, underneath, the rover. You can see the american, flag there at the bottom of the mast. Now something that, just kind of brings at home as far as how. Amazing. This rover, is. Is the turret that's on the end of the robotic, arm. That includes, the core and also includes, some other instruments. It weighs 80, pounds. And i think if you had told me back in 1997. When i was working on the sojourner, rover. That in 20 years we'd be building a rover that had a robotic, arm that could hold the weight of three sojourner, rovers, in its hand. I might have been surprised, but here it is it's the perseverance, rover. It's an amazing, vehicle. And with that i'm going to hand it off to farah olivei, who will talk more about the mobility, system. Thank you so much jennifer. Perseverance. Has some of the most ambitious, science goals that we've ever attempted, on the surface of mars. Now in order to achieve these we need to travel, long distances. And over a variety, of terrains. The enabling, technology, for this is the rover's mobility, system.
Now Let's queue up my first video where you'll see the rover driving, here in our clean room, and while you look at that, i can talk you through some of the specs the rover has. Perseverance. Is a rugged, all-terrain, vehicle, it has a clearance of two feet, a wheel diameter, of 21. Inches. It can go over obstacles. Of up to, 40 centimeters, that's just over a foot, and it can go up slopes of up to 30 degrees so that's about a 57. Percent, grade. The rover has a top speed of 0.1, mile per hour, but most importantly. It can self-drive, on mars now remember, mars doesn't have roads it doesn't have maps it doesn't have gps. And yet, perseverance. Can self-drive, for distances, of up to 200, meters per day. In order to get there in order to get to these specs we've had to make some pretty significant, upgrades. From. Uh from perseverance, predecessor, which was curiosity. The first upgrade that we made is to its wheels and let's look at slide number two where you'll see the difference between the curiosity. And the perseverance. Wheels, and we essentially, went back to the drawing board here, you can see that the perseverance. Tread pattern, is much tighter much closer together and the treads, are actually taller. Which gives the wheels better traction. You can also see that the treads have a smooth, sinusital. Pattern, rather than the jagged pattern that curiosity, had. That gives that that gets rid of the hot spots that cause damage on the curiosity, wheels, and gives us confidence. With that and along with the hundreds of hours of testing obviously that we've done here on earth, that these wheels will survive. The harsh martian, environment, that they will be driving on. The biggest upgrade that we've made, to the perseverance, rover however. Is its self-driving, capability. Perseverance. Is able to self-drive. Three times faster, than the curiosity, rover can, and that is mostly due to its ability, to think while it drives. It's able to do what we call thinking while driving. Due to its additional, computer, the vision compute, element, or the vce. Now the vce. Was added to the rover enabled, in the in order to enable. Terrain relative navigation, which jennifer, talked about, but once we're on the surface, we no longer need our terrain relative navigation, software. So we reuse, that second brain, in order to, speed up our autonomous, navigation. A scarecrow, rover scarecrow, which you saw on that last picture. Is an earth version, of our rover that has a third of the mass. And essentially. Scarecrow, has the same weight here on earth, as perseverance. Will have on mars. Since mars has a third of the gravity. That earth does. So here on earth we'll be putting. Scarecrow, through a variety, of tests through our mazes. And what we'll be doing using those tests is fine-tuning. Our self-driving, parameters. So that in february of 2021. When we land on mars, we'll be ready to hit the ground running, and get along with that fantastic, science that we that we have in store for the rover. And with that let me hand you over to project scientist, ken foley who's going to talk to you about that science. Thanks thanks pharaoh. As you've heard the march 2020, mission, has, three major goals. The first is to seek the signs of life. The second, is, to collect, and cache, a suite of samples that a future mission, could bring back to earth. And the third is to test technologies. That future explorers, of mars either robotic, or possibly, even human, could take advantage, of.
I Could have the first graphic. I want to tell you a little bit more about the rover, and in particular, about the science, instruments. We have seven entirely, new instruments, that we are flying with us. And i want to focus, on, just two of them because they illustrate, a completely, new kind of capability. For a rover mission. Uh and that is the pair of instruments that are on the robotic, arm, on the turret, that jennifer talked about these two instruments are called sherlock. And pixel. And what they do, is they allow us to combine, or co-register. In a single. Postage, stamp size, area. Things that you could see with your eyes, like color, and texture. But also chemistry, and mineralogy. And this is a very powerful, combination. It's never been done before, on mars. And it will allow us to understand. How, rocks formed. What their history has been since they formed. And in particular, is one of the key ways that we will look for evidence of life for what we call biosignatures. And in that regard the sherlock, instrument is particularly, important. Because it will allow us to not only detect, organic, matter, to, but to also, map its distribution. In this microscopic. Area. And this is of course, organic matter is of course one of the key, kinds of observations, that one makes. To identify. Past evidence, of life. In addition, to those two instruments i want to expand, on something, that jennifer mentioned, which is the sample caching system. And i want to talk about something which i find, really really cool. This is, a sample tube, now jennifer, told you that, the sampling and caching system consists, of a drill, mounted out on the robotic, arm, and a system that processes, the samples, inside the rover. Well this is one of the really key elements of this whole thing. This is a tube, into which, each individual, sample. Will be drilled. It is a very complicated. Device, we we often liken it to a test tube but i think you can see it's got a lot of features, that go beyond, that simple description. And i want to tell you about some of them. First one of the key. Technologies, that had to be developed for this is, how to make it extraordinarily. Clean. This is amongst, the cleanest things that have ever been built certainly, uh is the cleanest thing that has ever been flown. In the sense that, the inside, of these tubes, of which there are 43. On board the rover that look just like this. Inside, of this tube has, no microbes. And is extremely. Clean of organic, matter. And that's necessary, so that when. The, cousins of this tube come back to earth we can be certain. That what's inside that tube actually came from mars, and didn't come from earth. There's several other features i can point out here, uh, it's got a serial number on it this will be very important for when, the. Fetch mission goes to pick up this tube we'll know which one it is and we'll know where we collected it that's obviously super important. And you see uh lots of indentations. And and holes, in the tube this is necessary, so that the, robotic, system, both on perseverance. And on the follow-on, missions can manipulate, the tube. And finally you also notice, that it is bright, white. This is not paint. Paint would contaminate, the sample with organic, matter, instead this is aluminum, oxide, which has been flame sprayed, onto the surface and this is necessary. So that when we cache, the tube onto the surface, put it down on the surface for the future mission to pick up, it doesn't get too hot in the sun the white reflects, the heat away. So this is really one of the great features, that has been built into the, into the rover. And we spent a fair bit of time talking about, the hardware. Of this mission. But i also want to point out that this takes a very large. Team of people, to run. There are uh engineers. Who are responsible. For commanding, the rover and for ensuring, its health and safety. And there's also a very large science team, which will guide the operations. In the pursuit, of the science goals. The science team has about 350. Members. They come from all around the world. And they range from. Students, all the way through senior scientists. And they represent, an enormous, diversity, of scientific, disciplines. From people who are, nitty gritty experts, about what each instrument, does and how it does it. Through to geologists. And geochemists. Atmospheric, scientists. Astrobiologists. And this whole team, has to work together. One of the key things that jennifer, mentioned, is that, we have.
A Very ambitious, mission planned and we need to work very efficiently. And. One of the reasons for this, is that. The team. Each and every day, will receive, data, from the rover. And on a very short time frame, the team needs to, interpret, that data, what questions, did it answer, what new questions did it raise. And where do we go now, and what observations, do we make, we have just a few hours, to do that, before we have to hand it back to the engineers, who then beam instructions, up to the rover to go and do that. So this is a very, time pressured, activity. And it is really important, that the team, know how to function together. And, unlike a piece of hardware, where you can design, how all the elements, interact. A human team is really quite different. And one of the things that we've been working on over the last few years since this team got together, is a kind of bonding, if i could have the. Next video clip. One of the things that some of us on the team were fortunate, enough to be able to do is to go out into the field. In a remote part of western australia. To, look at rocks that contain. The oldest, undisputed, evidence, of life on earth very similar to the kinds of things that we hope we might find. On mars and so this was really a great activity. So that we could all come together and really grasp, the ideas. Behind this mission. We are now about. Three days, away from the launch. And, we will arrive, perseverance, will arrive on mars, in uh february. Of 2021. That gives us about seven months, in which the team, science team will, not be relaxing, instead the science team is working to develop, a plan. For how we will investigate. Our landing site if i can have the final clip. One of the things we've been doing is developing, a notional, traverse, of how the rover, will move through its landing site so in blue you see the landing ellipse, and in white you see the traverse, that the rover, may take. And this shows that we have wonderful, data, from the orbiters. Uh that have been around mars, to guide us in the selection, of key targets, to further our science, goals. And also, the way we can traverse the rover through various, hazards, so we're very excited to continue to work on that, and then actually start executing. As soon as we get to mars early next year. And with that i will turn it over to tonya bozak, who, is a science team member and also an expert. At looking for. Uh biosignatures. In ancient terrestrial, rocks. Thank you ken as someone who spent a lot of time, thinking. What life was like. On earth, omar's. Three billion years ago or more. I, think that jezera, crater, is an amazing. Site. To examine. And sample. The, process, by which we arrived to, this landing site. To choose it, was long it started in, 2014. With the first landing site workshop, which was open to the entire community, so anyone could come and suggest, their favorite, landing site and there were discussions. Extensive, discussions, that. Led to the narrowing down of the number, down to three sites in 2018. And then in november, 2018. Dr thomas zurbukin, made the final choice of jezera. And. The choice is pretty, obvious, when you think about. What we can see, from space. That tells us a lot about, jezreel, as a, previously. Inhabited. Previously, habitable, environment. So if i can have, the first. Slide. Here is. A photograph, taken from space. Of the jezreel, crater. This crater, occurs in very old terrain. The crater itself is probably 3.8. Billion years old. This is an amazingly. Old. Environment. And what we can see from this. About, the the crater itself is about 50 kilometers. Wide. And in this uh dashed, area, we see a fan, you see this fan already, in 10 slides. Um. We know, what forms, these kinds of fan-like, deposits, on earth. And. Those, deltas. Deltas. Occur, when. Rivers. Flow, through terrains, and bring sediments, into staining bodies of water, so just by looking, at this picture we could tell that there was a staining body of water, that was there long enough for these sediments, to be deposited, and form these geomorphic, features. So great there was a sustained body of water.
Some Time ago, what did it look like so if i can have the movie, that follows, this is an artist tradition. Of a fly, over. Many billion years ago over the crater, so if you can play the movie. We see, on the left, there is the inflow. Channel. That. Kept filling. This crater, with water. The water. Level, was, rising. To the point when the outflow, channel formed to the right. And. That, lasted, for some time long enough to create a delta. Now we know a lot about deltas on earth, and part of what makes delta, environment, so attractive, is that they sample sediments, from the surrounding, regions, these very, old regions, would have been very old on mars. So by looking at the sediments, there we can learn about the surrounding, regions of, mars. However, for bias signatures, it's even more exciting because deltas, are great at preserving, organic, matter and other types of biosignatures. And what we also know already, from, just orbital spectroscopy. If i can have the next slide please. There are diverse minerals, present in the delta. And within our landing ellipse, and the projected, rotor trajectory. So, here's a false. Color, image, these are not the real colors on mars unfortunately. It is not so colorful. But what these different colors, show. Are. Areas, in which different types of minerals are concentrated. So within the delta you can see some purples, you can see some. Greens. Uh some of this tells us that there are a lot of clay minerals, that are known in there to preserve goodbye, signatures. The green areas in particular. You can see this green that really, follows, the rim of the crater, but in the areas, where the waters of the lake former lake would have been lapping, the shore. And that is great. For bias signatures. If some of these minerals, are precipitated. So here's where the ions would have come in. And minerals, with the. Inflowing, water. And some of them may have been concentrated. And perhaps even trapped some biosignatures. And uh good analogs, on earth in fact some of the oldest, evidence for life on earth comes from rocks that are. Of the same similar composition, to these green rocks they're called carbonates. And if i can have the next slide. Some of these rocks. Look, like, what follows, they are layered, they're made of carbonate. And so what you're looking here we are back on earth, this is a 2.7. Billion year old rock a stromatolite. From western, australia, the area we saw in, ken's video. And. What we know about these rocks, is. How to look for bio signatures. So, a lot of these little features, you see, here, different crinkly, layers, different, little bumps. We know. When, microbes, have to be involved, in the precipitation. Of minerals, to make shapes like that, so. Other stromatolites. On mars. We don't know, what, are these. Carbonates, on mars we don't know but we are very excited, to start looking at them we certainly, have a great suite of instruments to do so, and we have many sets of trained, eyes that will be, ready to simple, the best rocks possible, to bring to earth and start, asking these questions about, possibly. Early life on mars. So with that i will turn it over to dc. Thank you very much tanya, uh i understand, we have some questions, from the media, on the phone. Uh so first question goes to chelsea, good of space.com. Chelsea. Hi thank you so much for taking my question. Um so you know obviously. A huge, part of this mission one of its main objectives. Is to look for these bio, signatures. And. Evidence. Of this ancient, life. Um i'm curious. You know. In part. You know for people who are just like oh what what does that mean i think. You know obviously we know what bio signatures, are but, what are you hoping to find i guess more. Concretely, we've seen organics, on mars we've seen, things of that nature but i'm curious what specifically, you're looking to see and then. You know the second part of that question is i'm curious how you think people, will react. Um if. These findings, if these biosignatures. Do come to light, and. Perseverance. Is able to. Take us to the next level in the search for life. So yeah okay. So what are we looking for what is what is a biosignature. And how are we going to look for it. Well the first thing to understand. Is that what we are looking for, is, likely very primitive, life we are not looking for advanced, life forms that might leave things like bones, or. Or. Fern fossils something like that we are looking. By analogy, to what we find in the similar time on earth. Microbial, life. And, tanya showed you an image of a of a, very compelling, example, from earth, of what that looks like, it's a it's produced where, a layer of microbes, lives, at the interface, between, water and mud, at the bottom of a, body of water. So that's the kind of feature, that we could, we could see with our eyes the the, example that she showed was macroscopic, it was quite large. Um, and, if you looked at it with a microscope.
Which We will be able to do with. The instruments, on the on the arm that i described. You can see that that texture goes right down to the microscopic. Scale. And that we would see that there's organic, matter in the terrestrial, analogs, that we would hope to see with the sherlock, instrument. So that's a really. That would be a very compelling. Example, of a biosignature. That we might hope to, find. And i'll just add a little bit, towards, the second half of that question. Which is even beyond. Just trying to reach us a little bit beyond what we hope to achieve with perseverance. We've heard a lot about the incredible, science that we hope to do at mars in looking for biosignatures. Uh but we also think there are other destinations, within the solar system that could also be potential, places where life may have started to take. Take hold in the past or may actually be present even today. Uh the moons, of jupiter, and saturn such as europa. Uh europa, which is the moon of jupiter. Uh, titan, and enceladus, moons of saturn, are also places where there potentially, could be environments. That that might be conducive, to life other very interesting astrobiology. Targets. And so we're we're interested in continuing to explore all of these different environments, mars and beyond. Uh to continue, our search for are there other places in the solar system that might actually. Host. Life. Great, thank you lori, uh i understand the next question, is from marcia dunn with ap. Marcia. Yes hello, i have a question for jennifer, trosper. If i might. I hate to ask you to choose among your five rover children. But, i'm wondering if. Perseverance, is your new favorite child, and. Also, um. What can you, work with all five nasa rovers. What to use, sets perseverance. Apart the most from its predecessors. Uh, and you're free to use as many supreme, courts as you'd like, thank you. Okay, thank you um. So i think i have to first say about the rovers, the same thing i say about my three children. They're, all my favorites. Um, and i also have to be careful because. I actually, met my husband, because, of the pathfinder, rover so i i think i have to say that one's my favorite. Um but perseverance. Is also, my favorite, so i don't think i answered your question but, the thing that i really love about perseverance. And and i you know i've had. A different role more of a visionary, role on perseverance. Than i had on previous rovers so it is more. I think a part of who i am and what i want rovers to be, and i see, perseverance. As being, transformative. Right and and i think matt talked about it this morning we've been exploring. We started exploring, mars with um, you know the orbiters, and then we got to where we had landers, and now we are driving, around and now. This is transforming. Us to bringing samples, back and eventually, getting humans, there so, i think that's the thing that makes perseverance. Stand out, uniquely. Amongst, all of these rovers. Great, thank you jennifer, uh, next up, mary liz bender with inverse. Mary. Yeah thank you so much for taking my question. Um i was just curious if you could talk about. What happens, right after, launch, what do the next steps the next couple months look like. For, you the team. And. When will you take your first real fresh. Sigh of relief, if you will. And that that could go to, anyone, but uh lori perhaps you want to answer that question. Oh. Sure well i'll i'll leave uh some of the details of exactly, uh what's going to be uh, happening over the next few months maybe to to canon to, to jennifer, but, uh, you know when will we, uh heave a sigh of relief, i think uh after we've uh successfully. Uh completed, the entry descent, and landing. Um and and gotten through that seven minutes of terror i think all of us will be, will be very relieved, and ready to begin the the hard work of conducting, the surface science and starting to see the incredible. Uh, results, of of the fruits of our labor here but i'm going to let. Ken or jennifer talk about what we're going to be doing. Over the next few months. Well i'll just say what the science team is going to be doing, training, training, training, it's a very complicated, piece of hardware.
And The scientists, on this mission. Most of them have very little preparation. To do this kind of work, we have to understand what the instruments are capable of and and how to instruct, them to do what we want them to do so, so training is really essential at this point. Uh jennifer anything to add from jpl. Yeah i'll add that, we have a cruise, team, that is actually flying the vehicle to mars. So shortly after launch. We'll actually. Be able to see the sun on our solar arrays and our sun sensors. We'll be able to find the stars, in the sky with our star scanner, and we'll get our attitude, initialized, we'll get to the right spin rate, and then. Within a few weeks we'll do our first trajectory, correction maneuver. Which essentially, just gets us on, the, home and transfer trajectory, that we're taking to mars and corrects for any launch vehicle. Um errors. Great. Thank you very much jennifer, uh, next up, from, uh, irish television, leo enright, leo. Uh thanks very much uh dc. Um. For ken farley. Um i rather, loved, the dotted, lines. Uh on the traverse. Map that you showed. Um, could you talk a little bit about the extended, mission, i mean we're all hoping you'd go beyond. Uh midway. But it looks like, at the moment. You're, only prepared to go as far as midway or am i reading that operation. Yeah let me let me provide some some background, here. During the landing site selection, process. The community, that was doing the the prioritization. Recognized. That, jezreel crater had some, really fantastic. Targets and tanya talked about them the delta. The carbonate, rock, very excited to see those. But there was also, a great deal of excitement. To rove up the crater, rim, and explore the highlands. Beyond. Which is some of the includes some of the oldest rocks on mars, some very unusual, features, that, could potentially. Indicate, the interaction. Of hot water with rock, another habitable, environment, that we'd be very excited to investigate. But it's important to recognize, that, we have a prime mission that, as jennifer, mentioned is is one mars year, and so that traverse. Indicates, where we hope to get uh by the end of the prime mission, about two earth years after we land. Great. Okay. Next up is natalie guerrero. Natalie. Yeah i wanted to know, what is the. Process, for choosing. What, samples, you end up taking, because it sounds like there's a limited number of sample tubes. I can take that one. We have, 43. Sample tubes, and, we expect, that, uh over the entire, duration of the mission not within the prime mission that we will use all of these tubes. In the pursuit, of something like 30 or 35. Really good samples. The additional tubes are are there so that we can for example. Change our minds, we we might say oh this looks like a good example of some particular, kind of rock. And then six months later we find something that's much better. So we have a ability to, kind of change our mind, in thinking about what samples. Come back. It's important to understand. That. One of the central goals of the mission, is to seek the signs of life. And. Many of the samples that we collect will be specifically. Chosen, because they represent, habitable, environments, or if we are fortunate. Also have bio potential biosignatures. In them that we wish to investigate, further. But there are also many other kinds of questions. We heard earlier, about how, mars climate changed. It changed, enormously. And an important thing to understand, is that we have no idea, why, mars was so different in its early history, and we hope that if we bring back rocks and study them in terrestrial. Laboratories, they'll tell us something about that.
So I guess the idea is that we have a broad set of scientific, objectives, that we believe the samples. Can and will be used for, and the key really is diversity, we will collect a diversity, of samples. This reflects, not only our understanding, of what questions are likely to be answered, but also recognizing. That. Decades, from now there will be many other kinds of questions that we can't presently, foresee. So having a diverse sample suite is is, the best way to approach that. Collection of the cash. Great, thank you ken uh and we have some questions from social media the first one is from tor. And he is uh, in the uk. Uh, and he's been building, his own lego and connex, rover. For a month, and waiting for the launch of mars. 2020.. So he would like to know and perhaps tanya this might be a good one for you. How can you fit an entire. Entire, science, laboratory. Into a. Rover. So part. Part of what makes this particular, rover, so special. Is that we don't have to fit, an entire. Science, laboratory. In this rover. For example. As ken mentioned. The biosignatures. We can look for will. Probably be something microscopic. And there is just no way to bring a microscope. A real microscope, that we would use on earth, to the surface of mars. So. This special, rover, and its special, sampling and caching, equipment. Is designed, to. Store the samples. And. Eventually, the samples will come to earth, and then we can, study them in, laboratories. On earth. That said, there are there's, yeah. There's a suite, of instruments. Yeah. That can mention so there's. Watson, there's sherlock, there are all these instruments, that can allow us to, look at, some, rock textures. And look for some organic, material. So. We can know a lot even just by looking at rocks and, mars. Thank you tanya, uh next question this might be a good one for pharah. Uh pharaoh since, you're about, mobility. This is a question about keeping camera lenses. Clear of, debris, and dirt, how do you do that with the nav cameras that are going to be. Supporting, the drives. So on landing we actually, the cameras, are covered with camera, covers, which, protects, the cameras from that dust. So we've tried to keep the cameras as clean as we can right now, and then after the landing sequence will fire, we'll, fire some pyros, to get rid of those camera covers. And that should give us really clear vision on mars. Other than that typically. We don't tend to get too much sanic accumulating. On, the cameras that are up on the turret. So, we don't worry too much about that. And we also benefit sometimes from the winds that service cleaning events, for any dust that might get up there. Great, thank you farah, the next. Question is from brittany, wright. And, brittany wright writes. I'd love to know, what the expected life span of perseverance. Is, and how you go about making repairs, to it if anything should break or malfunction. Maybe that's a good one for jennifer. Yeah we. Have tested, and qualified, our hardware. To, one and a half mars years so that's longer than the one mars year the two earth years, that the mission is supposed to, last. The way that we do that we actually take it through all the thermal cycles the thermal cycles on mars. Are the hardest, parts, about the hardware that could break the hardware and so we do that and we make sure that it will last through all those thermal cycles. And we make sure that we our mechanisms. Will move as, as many. Revs as we need them to so we've done that. We expect this to last one mars year. Now the question about, what do we do if things go wrong is an interesting, one because. Having operated, all of these mars rovers. There's all kinds of things that. That just go wrong, and it's far away, and sometimes, it doesn't talk to you and that's the first, problem you notice. So, there are a lot of different methods, and and a lot of them are in our design, really, and i'll just talk to a couple of them the first one is that we have redundancy. In our critical hardware, so if the flight computer. Goes bad we have another flight computer, that can replace, it, we also have something called functional redundancy. Where, we have for example, we can talk directly, to the rover from earth via uplink and sending it commands. But we can also send those commands, through orbiters. If for some reason, we lose the link, to the rover um, from direct to earth, so we have, those types of things it's always harrowing. When you don't hear from the rover. Some of some great stories, about um. Getting these rovers out of difficult, situations.
But, The the team of operations, personnel, are very well, experienced. And suited to, to help the rover whenever it has some problems. Great, thank you jennifer, and actually one more uh question for you and this one's from michael jackal. And he writes uh what is the hardest part about building, the rover. Well perseverance. Is a very complicated. Rover i think and, i showed you different pieces of it during my presentation. The hardest, part of this rover there are many, parts that are hard but the the sampling, and caching, system. Is a robotically. Complex, system. You have to, hand samples, back and forth between different robot, arms through a big carousel. And then on top of that, it has to be super clean. So that, whatever you discover, is not something that you took with you because it wasn't clean enough when you launched it, so that has been the hardest thing to develop, on the perseverance, rover, and it's really, i think a real testament, that we, the team has been able to get that, and get that to the point where we can collect these samples. And launch in the 2020, launch window. Great. Thank you jennifer well we're coming up at, the top of the hour soon so it's probably a good time to, wrap the show. A reminder, that tomorrow, we have two more briefings, about the march 2020, perseverance, rover mission, uh the first one's at 2 pm eastern. And that's on sample return. That should be a real good one and then two hours later at 4 pm eastern we have one on march 2020, mission tech, and humans to mars. So those are two good uh media briefings, uh tomorrow. A reminder, of course that july 30th, is the opening, of our launch period, and commentary, will start, on july 30 at 7 00 a.m. And. 7 50 a.m, is the first opportunity, for launch that day. Don't forget to follow the mission on social media at. Nasa persevere. On twitter, and facebook. And please, feel free to join the conversation. Using the hashtag. Pound, countdown, to mars. So, that's it from here at ksc, press site i'm dc eagle you guys have a good evening, thank. You. You.