NASA’s Mars rover for 2020 is expected to launch into space next year and landing on the red planet is scheduled for February 2021. NASA has shared a video of Mars 2020 rover curling its bicep or rather testing the arm flex in shot in a time-lapse format.
The video was taken in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at Jet Propulsion Laboratory and shows the rover’s seven-foot-long arm manoeuvring the 40 kg sensor-laden turret. According to NASA, the robotic arm on the rover does not have deltoids, triceps or biceps like a human arm, but it can still curl or lift heavy weights.
This ability to lift weights will be crucial given the rover will be doing the work of geologists and collecting rock samples for the space agency to study. According to information from NASA, the Mars 2020 mission will take off from Cape Canaveral in Florida and landing on the Jezero Crater on Mars by February 18, 2021.
The rover will spend at least one Mars year on the surface, which is about 687 Earth days, so it will be on the planet for nearly one year and eight months.
“This was our first opportunity to watch the arm and turret move in concert with each other, making sure that everything worked as advertised — nothing blocking or otherwise hindering smooth operation of the system,” Dave Levine, integration engineer for Mars 2020 said in a press statement.
Once the rover is on Mars, it will perform these exact same motions as it collects samples. NASA says the Mars 2020’s Sample Caching System, which will collect samples of Martian rock and soil and these will be returned to Earth by a future mission.
NASA is yet to decide a name for this Mars rover and is still accepting entries from those who wish to propose one.