NASA recently tested their new landing camera of next Rover mission to Mars, on a rocket built by Masten Space Systems in Mojave, California. NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program (FOP) is the part of this program.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory is one of the Agency in Pasadena, California. It is leading in the development of Mars 2020 rover, and it’s LVS (Lander Vision System).
Earlier in 2014 Dec 9, the prototype for Lander Vision System for NASA’s Mars 2020 mission was tested. This vision system launched 1,066 feet into air aboard Masten’s rocket-powered with the “Xombie” test platform. This helped and guided the rocket for precise landing at the targets which are predesigned.
Lander Vision System (LVS) is essentially working as part of the larger system for experimenting on the landing technologies. This is known as Autonomous Descent and Ascent Powered-flight Testbed or ADAPT.
LVS is the camera-based navigation system. This can able to capture terrain which is beneath the spacecraft which is descending. Then it matches with the maps which are pre-installed and allows the aircraft to detect the location and safe landings. Apart from this, it can also analyze the consequences faced by the landing and its areas such as rocks, stones, and outcroppings. Thus the system can direct its path for the safe touchdown which is the primary target.
Andrew Johnson, The Principal Investigator in the development of the Lander Vision System development, says these tests are building the confidence so that the vision system will enable Mars 2020 for landing safely.
He added “By providing funding for flight tests, FOP motivated us to build guidance, navigation and control payloads for testing on Xombie. In the end, we showed a closed loop pinpoint landing demo that eliminated any technical concerns with flying the Lander Vision System on Mars 2020.”
This LVS based mission will allow for the opportunities for landing in the challenging environments and pursue new discoveries about Mars.