The spacecraft which will carry Curiosity’s little brother, the Mars 2020 rover, has been put through its paces in a further round of testing this week.
The NASA Mars 2020 craft underwent acoustic and thermal vacuum (TVAC) tests which simulate the conditions of launch and of space to check it can withstand the extreme environments.
“First we blast it with sound to make sure nothing vibrates loose,” David Gruel, the Mars 2020 assembly, test, and launch operations manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) explained in a statement.
“Then, after a thorough examination, we ‘put it in space’ by placing the spacecraft in this huge vacuum chamber we have here at JPL.
We pump out the atmosphere, then chill parts of it and cook others while testing the performance of the entire spacecraft.”
Tests were performed in a 25-foot-wide, 85-foot-tall chamber called the Space Simulator Facility.