NASA holds Mars 2020 pre-launch news conference
Hello. And welcome to kennedy space center my name is bettina, and klon, thank you for joining us for this pre-launch, prescott, pre-launch. Press conference. Moments ago the launch readiness, review, concluded. For the mars 2020, mission, which will carry the mars. Perseverance, rover. And the ingenuity, helicopter. To the red planet. We're very excited, about this new era in mars exploration. You can catch, the the launch here on nasa television. With broadcast starting at 7 am and the launch will start at 7 50. Am, to learn more about this. This mission to mars, we are joined by a great panel to tell us, about. Mars 2020. And future plans to mars. First we have, nasa administrator. Jim breidenstein. Thomas, ubukin, associate administrator, for nasa, science mission directorate. Matt wallace, deputy, program manager for the jet propulsion, lab. Omar bayes. Launch director, for the nasa launch service, program. Torre bruno, president, and ceo, of united launch alliance. And jessica williams, 45th, space wing, weather officer. As a reminder, we'll start taking questions, from our media, who is joining us virtually, on the phone branch, we'll also question. To also take questions, from social media, using the hashtag. Countdown, to mars. So let's start, with nasa administrator, jim bradenstein. Well thank you so much bettina. And. I just want to say the launch readiness, review, is complete. And we are indeed, go for launch. I want to thank our ula, teammates. And of course our jpl, teammates, as well. This has been an amazing, team effort and i remember. When i first came to the agency, thomas zurbukin. Came to me and said hey look we have a risk here the risk is mars 2020.. I said well what's the risk he said well we might not go in 2020.. And here we are, just a, a number of years later. But we are in fact going to launch what we now call mars, perseverance. In the year 2020, and i think the the name is, is perfectly. Appropriate. A young man in virginia, named alex, mather. A, seventh grader. Is the person who named it and so. Um we are we are in extraordinary. Times right now with the, coronavirus. Pandemic. Um and yet we have in fact persevered. And we have protected, this mission because it is so important. We declare this mission to be essential. And there's a number of reasons why. And i'll just give you a few of them. Some of the reasons that excite me the most. First of all, you know the president gave us an objective, to go to mars with humans, to plant an american, flag on mars. Well in order to do that we have to be able to sustain, human life on mars. So there's a mission, on perseverance. Called moxie. It's a technology. Demonstrator. How do we use the carbon dioxide. Atmosphere. Of mars. And create, pure oxygen, that we can use for life support. So that's a really exciting, mission that is a precursor. To an eventual, human mission to mars. But there's so much more. When we think about the mars perseverance. Rover, for the first time ever. We're going to fly. A, helicopter. On another planet. We call it ingenuity. And of course. Ingenuity. Is going to be a tech demonstrator. For, this particular, mission. But in the future, it could transform. How we do planetary. Science. On these other worlds. And eventually, be a scout, so that we can figure out where exactly. Do we need to send our. Our robots. But i think the other thing that's very important about this mission this is the first time. In history. When nasa, has dedicated, a mission. To what we call, astrobiology. The search. For life, either maybe, maybe now, or ancient, life on another world. And of course when we go to the jezero, crater, which is. Obviously, a big crater, on mars but it's also a former, lake bed, and it had a river that flowed into it and that river delta. Is a place where we believe there could be. Not saying there is we don't know but there could have been at one point in time. Life. We know that mars, had, a, very active, atmosphere, and a very active hydrosphere. That it was protected, from the radiation. Of deep space at one time. Three billion years ago in other words mars was at one time, habitable, we know that because of past missions. Spirit and opportunity, and now that we know, what the history, of mars was we can say okay. Maybe there was life there let's go find out. If there was life on mars, and in fact, the other exciting, thing is we're going to cash, samples. We're going to cash samples, on the surface of another world. For a future, mission in 2026. To bring those samples, back to earth, that will be the first time in history. That we've done a mars, return, mission. In fact it's the first time in history we've done a return mission from any planet. So it's uh these are very very exciting times. Very important, mission for the united states of america.
And Of course a very very important mission. For the world. And with that i'm going to turn it over. To the associate, administrator. Of the science, mission directorate. At nasa, who has done just amazing, work helping us get to where we are today. And somebody who understands. How uniting. This mission, actually, is so dr thomas zurbukin, over to you, thank you so much administrator. And thanks to you for your commitment. To success. Without, which we wouldn't be here today so i really really appreciate, that, and i just couldn't. Be more happy to be here today. And have this amazing, mission on top of a rocket ready to go. And actually, from this uh, launch readiness review no. That, all the, issues are addressed. And we are, in fact ready now we're just counting down and just, really celebrating, with the team. Uh you already mentioned, administrator, why we want to go to mars and i'm not going to repeat it for me, the most exciting, part is to really, go land in this. River delta. That we think has so many promising, landscapes. Kind of. Rocks. That in fact we want to not only see images, of and measurements, of we want to see back, in the best labs. That is are available, to humanity, which is of course on earth. With, our sample return, being, a reality. We're excited, to go learn about the climate. Of, mars the weather there with uh. Unprecedented. Weather information, that is uh right there also, and that teaches, us about that. And uh needless to say, uh, we're going to make, amazing. Surprising, discoveries, kind of in a way that. It always happens, the most important thing that happens in these missions, are the things we did not plan, those are discoveries. That are. Rewriting. Uh, school books, all over the world. Well there are two things that, really are important to me today i want to focus on the first one is perseverance. You already mentioned. How appropriate, this name is perseverance. Many people. Think initially, is about something hard. It is something, beautiful, it's together, with exploration, together, with hope, together, with vision. It is what actually allows us to, achieve these amazing, goals and this, mission is full of perseverance, it's perseverance. Uh early on even of. Com bringing this amazing. Idea, to bear and designing. This, exciting, rover. Together with international, partners. That, persevered, themselves. Developing. These, instruments, and sending them over. It is uh, going through the adversity, that we always encounter when it comes to complex. Uh, uh you know. Exploration. But also in this case, over and above because of the tremendous, difficulties. In this sample return. Uh. Technology. That was invented, at jpl, and and their collaborators. But then, you talked about it. Life changed. And on this role where we have the unity, plaque, uh, recognizing, the first responders. That also had an important, role, and actually kept everybody, safe not only the good people who worked. At this rover and the launch vehicle but also their friends and family. All over the united states and in fact. All over, uh the world in addition to that. On this rower. Is a plaque, with. 11. Million. Names, and i want to tell you my name is there, uh, as or my entire, family. And both of my parents who are no longer with us they too.
Are Part of that important, uh exploration, and i hope so many of the people are watching right now. Because we're going together. As a world, and i want to give you a glimpse of going together, as a world. From a little uh country over there in europe and i wanna uh, uh, show the first image. This is in the background, there the matterhorn, you've seen it from chocolate bars perhaps. Uh you know it's one of the most, amazing, mountains, almost 15, 000 feet high. And what you see, in the forefront. Is. A light, show, actually. Uh. Really, onto, the, onto the matterhorn, with mars, uh image as you see of course looking at these rocks as well this could be on another planet too well, this is in switzerland. It's actually at uh. 9000. Feet high that's where the the crew is right now but here's what's exciting, right now every night until the 15th, of august. And next image please. The crew is going to project. Images, such as this one onto, the matterhorn. Images, of. Coming together, as a world. And persevering. And exploring, the uh our. Neighbor, neighboring, planet together. But being explorers, together. Uh and persevering. And so for me that image, is just uh. Really one of those uh, demonstrations. No this is not fake that's exactly. What happened last night, that's exactly, what happened next night in switzerland, and for the next, few nights so i just really want to thanks cherry hofstetter. The artist, and event designer, who did that and. Of course daniel, lookin. Who is. Who is, the official, in charge who enabled, that there's a lot of people who had to agree to, that. Moment, of coming together. Film outside, for. Yes that was swiss german and i do speak that language. With that however, uh, i'm going to turn it over to matt. Uh you know and i just want to tell you, uh. How much i appreciate, matt and his work and and the work of his entire, team, matt and i got to know each other a lot because we too, had to persevere, together. Matt. Thank you thomas. I'm not going to speak german, but i'm pretty excited. This is the fifth mars rover mission i've had an opportunity to work on. And, i have to say this one's really special. For for a lot of reasons some of which you've already heard about. That we're doing transformative. Science, really for the first time we're looking for signs of life, on another planet. And. As as thomas mentioned for the first time we're going to collect samples, that'll be part of we hope the first sample return. From another planet, and, there's a lot of other firsts along the way, um. Administrator, mentioned, our. First powered. Aerial. Capability. With the ingenuity, helicopter. We're making oxygen, on the surface of mars. For the first time. For the first time we have an opportunity, to use autonomous. Systems, to. Avoid hazards. On. As we land the jezreel, crater and that's a technology, that'll feed forward into future. Robotic, systems, and human exploration. Systems. And that's exciting. We're also carrying microphones. For the first time we're going to hear. The sounds of the spacecraft. Landing on another planet, and. And the rover. Drilling in the rocks and and rolling over the surface, of of mars, and uh. You know that that's pretty exciting i'll mention one more which is uh kind of near and dear to my heart for the first time. Uh we're going to have an opportunity, to see, another, spacecraft.
See Our spacecraft. Land, on another planet. We've got commercial, ruggedized, cameras, that we've distributed. Essentially, all over the spacecraft. And. And they'll get high definition, video that will bring back after we land on the surface, of the entire landing. Activity, from the inflation of the parachute, to the touchdown, of the rover, and. That's going to be some very exciting, footage. So uh so the whole whole mission is um. Very exciting for me if we bring up the first graphic. Just from a, quick historical, perspective. We, um we really began to look for ways to leverage. The powerful. Sky. Sky crane delivery, system that we developed. To successfully, land curiosity. In gale crater, in 2012. We we started to look for that opportunity. Almost immediately, after we launched curiosity, in 2011., we got a new start. On the project, in 2012.. We had. Our instruments, selected, by, mid-2014. And then we got down to work accommodating, those mission those uh. Those uh. Instruments, and and experiments. And started building, uh still, started building the vehicle. Along the way we had plenty of challenges. We. We had to qualify. A new, planetary, parachute. Uh it's, another, first, first time we've done that as an agency. In 40 or 50 years, it's not an easy thing to do requires a lot of. A number of suborbital, rocket flights, out of wallops, and we we managed to get that done and and we got through a number of other. Uh challenges, in our development. As well. Uh kind of late in the game we were asked to accommodate. This this, little thing called. The mars helicopter. And, as you can see it was well after, most of the payloads were assigned to the project, and so. You know we had to do a little bit of a magic trick to get that one, on the rover. Pulled a bit of a rabbit out of a hat but i guess it was fate. Because, we managed to get it done. And the helicopter, team delivered their system, and it's, sitting up with the perseverance, rover, on top of our atlas v rocket. Getting ready to go to mars with us so. You all know the launch is coming up and of course there's about a six and a half month cruise. To mars, and will land. The middle of february, of 2021. At jezreel, crater. So if you go to the next, graphic please. Okay this is uh. This is the important part, this is where i talk about the team. This is just a small fraction of the team believe it or not, this is just the jpl, team and it's just a fraction, of the, more than 2 000 people. Over the course of the mission development, that worked on the project, at jpl. And of course our team didn't stop at jpl. Pretty much every nasa center participated. In this project, in one form or another, it was really a cross-agency. Effort, and, and something, we're extremely, appreciative, of all the support that we got. And it didn't stop there. Thomas mentioned we have three instruments, from europe one from france, one from spain. Uh one from norway, and of course of course we have a very large science team. I think it's more than 250. Scientists. Really from around the world. Which are participating. In this in this project. As well. Um. If you bring up the next graphic, i think we've got a picture, here of the spacecraft. As. Uh i like it because it gives you a sense of the complexity, of this system, you see the cruise stage up on top. The rover is a little hard to see but you can see one of the wheels there, and, the helicopter, is actually mounted, underneath. The body of the rover, and they're both nestled, up into the uh. Into the upper portion of the entry capsule, and we're about to bring. The heat shield. Up to encapsulate.
The Entire, spacecraft. This is right before, going into our integrated, flow with the launch vehicle just a few weeks ago. You know you can't build something this complex, without a lot of, help. From our industry, partners, and they stepped up, big time. We. Built flight hardware, in 44. Out of the 50 states. In the country. More than 550. Different, cities. And, towns, and communities. So. No matter where you are in this country. You don't have to go very far probably to find somebody that's been part of this mission. And it's a it's a tremendous. Team, team effort. You know, it's. We work with. Cutting edge technology. And when we do that we expect to be, we expect to be challenged. And as as, thomas and the administrator. Have mentioned, our, our fundamental, job is to explore new new places. Places, we haven't been. Answer questions, we don't know the answers to sometimes. Create questions, that we we didn't even know we needed to ask. And so you expect, new issues, and new problems. I have to say along the way. But but really. Nothing prepared, us, uh, for. What, we had to deal with in in the middle of march. As a pandemic, struck, and not just, our team but obviously. Communities, across the country, and in the world. We really. At that point of the mission, we're in our final assembly, activities. It's critically, important, that the team. Do that assembly, correctly. That they do it without making mistakes, or damaging, the hardware, there's really, no safety net at that point. We're working with a very limited, schedule. Every. Every day, every shift. Every hour. Is, is something we're scrutinized, to make sure we're going to stay on track because. We got a 20-day. Planetary, launch window and if we miss it we're we're going to push out by a couple years. And so, um. You know just having, the uh. The coronavirus. Issue, uh. At that point in time was was very challenging, for us. Um, and of course no matter how many, hardships, we were facing, there's a community, set of. Uh, community, out there, first responders, nurses doctors, and medical community, that. Were. Really facing. Life-and-death, situations. At the same time and so. I asked the team a couple months ago. To do something, to. Kind of represent. This this particular, challenge that we all faced here in 2020, on this mission and i think if you bring up the next. The next graphic. You can see. A technician. On our assembly, team. Installing. A plate. This is on the, a little hard to tell but, on the aft. Port, side. Left side of the rover. And we call the plate, the. Perseverance. Covet 19. Plate. And there's a good, good shot of it. Uh, the, you can see we have, a. Representation. Of the earth on the top. Kind of to symbolize. The the. Challenge, that we faced uh. You know. Globally. As as the pandemic, struck, we have a representation. Of the spacecraft. Uh leaving the earth and heading to, heading to mars. And of course all of this is, appropriately. Supported. By the. Rod and serpent, of the medical community, uh you know during this period. Uh this this is a group of, uh. Of. People that really inspired, i think our team to keep going. And. And we hope that in some small way this mission can help. Inspire the people that have had to go through this pandemic, as well. So. Uh if we go to the next graphic please. I mentioned, uh the team you saw some pictures, uh our team actually doesn't end with international, contributions. And industry partners, and. And other nasa centers, uh we include. We include all of you, as well and this plate, if you look at the top, left corner of this plate you'll see three small.
Micro Fish chips, which thomas referred to. These are the places where his family's, names, and. 11, million other, names. Are etched onto those micro fish chips we had only intended to fly one. But we cut so much interest. We couldn't fit it on one so we flew three. And you see on the plate as well representation. Of the solar system with earth and mars, and. And there is some. Some hidden morse code i think in the rays of the sun which. People, quickly recognized. Spelled out explore. As one. Which is what we, uh, what we intend to do. You know we're going to launch, uh the vehicle here, in just a. Couple days. And, um. Uh, we're looking forward to having everybody, come along. For the ride, if you go to, nasa.gov. Be my guest you'll find plenty of experiences. There to, to. See the launch and to see some of the behind, behind the scenes. Interviews. Also at. Mars.nasa.gov. Mars2020. There's uh if you click on the participate. There's opportunities. To get. To some pretty cool, social media filters. There's uh. There's a photo booth there and where you take a picture with the mars perseverance, rover. Uh, some some competitions, and some other things so. We invite all of you to ride shotgun, along with us starting on thursday. And, with that i'm going to hand it over. To our launch director, omar baez. Thank you matt. And, as, everybody, else here has has mentioned. Our, situation, did change. I would have never thought. That. A launch director would be working from home. And i've done that for the last. Five months. And. We used to have something, called. Every other year here called, take your kids to work. Well guess what. Every day was take your kids to work day. And. I bet you it's been an experience. For the kids. But it's humbling. As a parent to see. How. Our whole, team. From the range, to our partners, at jpl. To our partners. Ula. To our folks at headquarters, how we all had to adjust. To work in this environment, and to collaborate. Electronically. Where. Before, it was a face-to-face. Interaction. Versus. You know seeing somebody's, little picture on a. Computer, screen, and voice. And, uh, even. Um. As simple as, a launch readiness review which we had this morning. Uh. Where it would have been shoulder to shoulder that room would have been full and people standing, up in the back. Um. Sparse. Sparse settings, everybody wearing a mask. You had trouble hearing some people because you're wearing these masks so it. There's a challenge. And a penalty, that goes with doing these things. And. I've seen the team, react. And overcome, all of that and it. Makes me very proud. And here we are. A couple of days from launch. We did complete the launch readiness, review. If i could. Have the folks roll a short video here. I'll show you how we're going to get. Perseverance. To the red planet. And it starts with that right there that's the.
Atlas, 5. With its rd180, motors. Being stacked. Into the mlp, at the, vif. At complex, 41.. That's. Srms, going up we're flying four of them. On this mission, and that gives. The atlas that extra oomph. It needs to leave, the earth's gravity well. With, perseverance. And ingenuity. There you see. About the last time. We got to see the. Rover. And helicopter. Stack. Before he got encapsulated. And we took that out to. Complex, 41, on the. 7th. And. Stacked it on top of the vehicle, got it ready. Environmentally. For, planetary, protection. Purposes. We had to. Prepare, that area to be able to ingress, an egress. And. On the 24th. Of this month we. Inserted, the rtg, which is going to power. The rover, on. Mars, for the next couple of years. And. We finished out all our testing. And, all that remains. Is i have three goes to go, tomorrow. At eight in the morning. I give the go for the vehicle to roll out. We take a day of rest after tomorrow. To get synced up with having to come in at. Two or three in the morning. Give a a go to. Fuel the vehicle. And, once we're ready and the spacecraft's, configured. One more go, and. Four minutes later. We're going to be flying to mars. And that makes my job really simple. And over to tory to explain the rest of it. All right. Thank you. I cannot tell you how thrilled, we are to lift perseverance. Ula, and its heritage rockets, have taken, every u.s mission to mars. But this one, is arguably, the most sophisticated. In some ways the most exciting, of all of them. So it will sit atop, our mighty atlas, in the 541. Configuration. I like to call that one the dominator. Because that is our second, most, powerful. Atlas. So. Supplementing. That core. With its 860. Thousand pounds of thrust, from the rd-180. Will be four massive, solid rocket motors that you saw in omar's, video. Each of them generating, another 280. 000 pounds of thrust. This rocket, is going to leap off the pad, with this relatively. Tiny, payload, so do not blink when they say ignition. Now i've got a mission profile, video, to show you that we'll just kind of walk through what that flight will look like, if you could run that please. Three. Two. One. Main engine start. Zero, and, liftoff. Of the atlas, v the atlas v rd 180, main engine, and 4 solid rocket boosters, ignite, to generate more than 10.2. Million, newtons, or 2.3. Million pounds of thrust, to lift the rocket on its way towards a hyperbolic, escape trajectory. Shortly after liftoff, atlas, begins a pitchover, to attain the proper flight path while minimizing, the dynamic, pressure the vehicle experiences, during flight. The atlas v reaches mach 1, the speed of sound, at 35, seconds. Following burnout, the four srbs, are jettisoned, at one minute 49, seconds. In the next two and a half minutes of first stage flight, the atlas v will more than triple its velocity. At 3 minutes 27, seconds, the payload fairing is jettisoned. At 4 minutes 22, seconds, propellant, levels deplete, and the booster, engine shuts down. The atlas, 5 is now traveling at more than 21. 680. Kilometers. Or 13. 470. Miles per hour and located, nearly 156. Kilometers. Or 97, miles in altitude, and 497. Kilometers, or 309. Miles downrange. Six seconds later, the atlas centaur, separation, system activates, to release the booster stage. The vehicle now weighs a little more than five percent, of what it did at liftoff. Ten seconds later the first burn of the centaur, main engine begins. Burning, liquid hydrogen, and liquid oxygen, the centaur, is attaining, orbital velocity. At approximately, eleven and a half minutes into flight, cut off of the centaur, main engine or, miko 1 occurs, the mission now enters a 30 minute coast phase, in preparation, for the earth escape, burn. The centaur, main engine is restarted, at 45, minutes. This burn provides, the required, thrust for centaur, to escape, earth orbit. Approximately. Eight minutes later, final cutoff of the centaur, main engine occurs. This completes, powered flight. Centaur, will coast for nearly five minutes, in preparation, for spacecraft, separation. At about 57, and a half minutes. Centaur, releases, the spacecraft, into a hyperbolic, orbit, traveling at more than 41, 000 kilometers. Or nearly, 26, 000 miles per hour, on a seven month cruise, to mars, where it will seek signs of ancient, life on the red planet, and collect, rock and soil samples, for possible, return to. Earth. So the vehicle. Is sitting atop. Its, launch platform, in our vertical, assembly, or vertical integration, facility, right now. Processing. Has been going very smoothly, for the last several days.
So Atlas, is go, centaur, is go. And, we are literally, chomping at the bit to take this nuclear-powered. Dune buggy, out to mars. Fantastic. Thank you so much next we go to jessica, williams, of the 45th. Space wing. Weather officer. Well overall the weather looks very favorable. For launch thursday, morning. Today, we had a surface ridge of high pressure built into south florida. And what this did for us is shift the weather pattern from last week, so that we have southwest. Winds in the low levels, in the mornings, that's offshore, winds, and this pattern will persist, through this weekend, so through the 48, hour, backup, window, so this gives us dry mornings with those offshore, winds. But it does give us chances, for showers and thunderstorms, in the afternoon, and evening. So if we look at our launch day. Forecast. The chart for the launch day forecast. We should have a 20. Probability. Of violation. For the cumulus, cloud rule. And the thick cloud layer rule. And this is really just due to a weak boundary, being off the coast of the southeast. So we are expecting, to see. Isolated, to a few scattered, showers, just offshore, from complex, 41. But they will be moving very little or moving away from the pad, we have that, slight chance of violating, for the cumulus, cloud rule, and there's also expected to be some mid-level, clouds. Scattered, to broken. Associated, with this weak boundary, off the coast so we could see, just a brief period, of violating, the thick cloud layer rule but again overall, it's only at a twenty percent. Violation. For the, overall, two hour window. So if we look at our, 24, hour. Backup, chart. Again we have offshore, winds from the southwest, in the morning, 8 to 10 knots. We have a 10 percent, probability, of violating, for the cumulus, cloud rule as that weak boundary, off the coast of the southeast, starts to, diminish. And the chances, for any cumulus, clouds in the flight, path, over the water just off the coast, reduced, from the day before. And if we look at our 48, hour backup window for saturday, morning. The weather still looks favorable, with offshore, winds, from the southwest. Or south from the west really, they pick up a little bit 12 knots with sustained. Gusts to 16 knots at 230. Feet. However. The upper level wind flow, does change and become, more from the east and stronger so if we do see any. Showers or thunderstorms. Over the gulf stream which is pretty typical for this time of year in the morning. And if they do produce any anvil clouds there's just a very slight possibility. Of those anvils. Reaching. Close to the coast so that is why we have that 20 percent, probability, of violation, for the attached, and detached. Anvil, cloud rules for the 48, hour backup, day, on saturday, morning so again overall, we're in a very favorable, weather pattern. For a morning launch time frame for thursday, through saturday. Thank you so much jessica. Now we're going to start taking questions, from reporters. And social media. For reporters, please remember to press star 1 to ask your questions. And those online, you can use the hashtag. Countdown, to mars. Our first question, comes from marsha dunn of ap, marcia. Hi can you hear me, yes. Hello. Yes we can hear you marcia. Yes great um. I cannot, remember so much company on the way to mars as there is happening. Uh this year. And i was wondering, um if either mr weinstein. Or, um. Dr zurbukin. Could comment, on, china, and uh. On their way to mars. And how whether there's any sense of competition. Um, and is the pressure, on now that the world has two, good lunches, off and you know this is coming up third thanks. Sure i'll start um. A couple of things number one, uh we welcome, more nations. Uh taking trips to mars, and studying it and delivering, the science, and sharing the science with the world that's. What science, is all about and of course it's a very uniting, kind of thing. I i honestly, don't see this as a competition. At all. This is our ninth time to go to mars, and land softly, and do robotic, experiments. And discovery. And so we've been doing this now for decades. Successfully. And of course. This mission, is by far the most sophisticated. Mission ever so. I don't see it as a competition, but certainly we welcome.
More Explorers, to deliver more science than ever before and we look forward to, to seeing what it is that they're able to. Discover. I think my question is from matt wallace. You mentioned you worked on. Numerous rovers before. And you listed all the firsts on this mission i'm curious if you could compare. The complexity. And, risks, associated, with this mission with, curiosity. And previous missions you know everyone was kind of keyed up for. Curiosity's, landing back in 2012, with the seven minutes of terror the sky crane was brand new. Just interested. Given your, experience, base and your assessment of the risks and complexity. Of this mission overall, compared to prior nasa rovers, thanks. Sure yeah the from a complexity, perspective. It's clearly a more sophisticated. Vehicle, as i said we're we're carrying about 50 percent, more, surface, payload, than curiosity. Did. And that, was by far the most complex, thing we had ever done up until that time. So we're taking this a step further, and and really the sampling, system that we have on this vehicle. Because, we are collecting. Um. Rocks and soil, samples, that we ultimately, want to bring back to. To the earth, and and look for really trace, chemical, signatures. From billions of years ago. You know um, very faint signatures. The system that we use to collect those samples, has to be. Immensely, clean. And so. We had to sterilize, it and we had to clean it from an organics, and chemical perspective. And we had to keep it that way. From all the rest of the systems, that that, we had to use to get the. The system to mars and so. That was, from a complexity, perspective. It was really. Another, step. Beyond, what we did, on on curiosity. Um. You know from a risk perspective. I think, one of the. Still the highest risk portion, of all these missions. Is is a landing, process. You know you mentioned at the seven minutes of terror, there's really nothing we can do, uh we hit the. We call it do edl. Do entry descent landing we literally send a command to the spacecraft. That's, that says that and uh, and then for the you know the spacecraft. On its own has to get. From uh, uh out uh you know outside the planet, moving at twelve thousand miles an hour all the way down safely to the surface. Without, any human interaction, and and uh it's basically, a controlled, disassembly. The whole way. Uh it's by far the most complex. Or the most uh. Uh the highest risk portion. Phase of the mission, still. And we have the good fortune, on 2020. To have leveraged. The, the system that we designed. On on curiosity. And so. Not only do we have all the testing, behind us on this system. That we did before we launched and landed curiosity. We have the curiosity, flight itself, and all the telemetry, that came back. And it performed, extremely, well, during that mission. Uh and then we did a whole lot, additional testing, you know to to launch. To launch this, spacecraft. Still no guarantees. You know, our, hearts will still be beating hard. When we get to that point of the mission. But i do think. It's an advantage, that we have. This is not a first-time, landing system. As we had on curiosity. Do you mind adding. A word or two about the terrain relative navigation, of course if we landed with the curiosity. System as it is we couldn't go to where we're going right. That's right yeah i mentioned briefly, uh before, that for the first time we're going to use.
A Hazard avoidance, system. Autonomous, hazard avoidance system we call it terrain relative, navigation. And it allows us to go to jezreel, crater which is a very interesting, scientific, sites because it's got. A lot of rocks and escarpments. And sand dunes and, a lot of variation, in the terrain. And all those things are wonderful, for scientists, who are looking for stratigraphy. And other things. But they all represent. Landing hazards, for us. And so to get to, a scientifically. Uh. Valuable, site like jezreel. We had to develop a new, uh, a new hazard avoidance system. And uh, and and we are flying that, it's. It's a system, that uh, essentially. Uses, orbital, imagery that we have from our other spacecraft. Um, we identify, hazards, on the surface, we mark those hazards, on a map. We load that map on the onto the spacecraft. And as we're coming down. Getting close to the planet we take a picture. We find ourselves. In, the hazard, map that we've got on board. And then we divert away, from the, the most significant, hazards, to the spacecraft. And so it does significantly. Improve our probability, of landing in a in a safe way. Uh particularly. In rough terrain, at jezrow, this is a system that we've we've tested, extensively. Thomas in particular. Wanted to make sure. That. That, that we had. We had all of the necessary. Checks and balances. And. Rigorous, reviews, in place. For this system. Before we. Before we selected, jezeroff, or as a final destination. But we we have exercises. System. Out in the desert with simulated, landings we have simulation, we have computer simulations. And it just works, extremely, well it's very powerful and robust system and we have a lot of confidence, in it. Thank you. Our next question comes from jackie goddard. Of the, times, of. London. Yes hello, and maybe this question i think is for matt, um, adding the audio. Um. Is a, a an interesting, extra on this mission i wondered what is the scientific. Significance. Of adding this extra. Sensory, dimension, to the mission. And at what point in the entry descent landing sequence, does it kick in thank you. So we'll turn on the microphone. Pretty early in the process, before we, deploy the parachute. And and we should. Be able to hear, uh. Some of the spacecraft. Um, pyrotechnic. Events and separation, events. Perhaps. The. You know the atmosphere. At some level. Uh, interacting, with the spacecraft, itself. So we turn it on pretty early in the entry descent and landing, system. The microphone. We expect, to survive, landing, and to also be usable, uh on the surface. It's a we have two microphones, actually i'm talking about a a general. Uh, a general engineering, microphone, now, and and we do think that that microphone. Will be able to hear, our, uh, big rotary, percussive, drill, out on the end of the robot arm as it jackhammers. Its way into, uh. Into rocks, as well as.
The Wheels, crunching, over the surface, of mars. We think we'll be able to hear those things. From an engineering. Diagnostic. Perspective. We're not quite sure, you know how, it will help us that's something we're going to have to. Understand. I think as we get some experience, with it, there is a second microphone. It's mounted on the top of the mast, and it's associated, with, one of our instruments. Uh the instrument, is, uh called. Supercam. And, um it's a, laser, breakdown, spectrometer. Essentially, it fires a laser. And as the laser goes out it creates a little plasma, cloud with the rocks, and the dust that it. Interacts, with. And uh and you when we, when we fire this in our test beds uh or in atlo you can hear it pop, you know you can hear the zap almost, and, the science community, is hoping. With that targeted, microphone, up on the top of the uh the top of the mast. That they will learn something about the, um. About the composition. Of the um, of the things that the the, laser is interacting, with. Uh in particular, but it's a little bit of an experiment, you know we haven't done this before it's the first time we've taken this uh. This human sense to mars, and uh and exercised, it so, we're going to find out i think we're going to learn as we go. Thank you, sure. Thank you jackie. Our next question, is comes from irene klotz of aviation, week. Thanks very much, um i think this is awesome for matt. Have the repositioning. Of the, nasa, 3, mars, orbiters. Already begun, to be able to. Provide. I guess as real-time. Calms. As possible, for the entry descent and landing. I'm not quite sure i heard the entire question but i think it's related to the the nasa orbiters, and their their support role for entry descent and landing. Uh communication. Has that. Yeah, if that repositioning. If any has already started, or when you expect to do that and which, orbiters, will be used. So we're primarily, going to use, uh the mars reconnaissance, orbiter, mro. Uh for entry descent and landing communications. Um. And uh it has a minor amount of uh repositioning. As you mentioned, uh that that will be required. Uh so that it's exactly overhead. When we landed as a row creator, and. I, do not believe that that repositioning. Has has quite started yet but. We've got plenty of time to get that done before we land. Thank you, we're going to take some questions from social media. Um our first one comes from jk. Um, trenzynski. What sort of data, would perseverance. Gather, on the martian. Surface. Gather on the mars surface well we've talked a lot i think about the um, the the science, mission, uh of of the project. And uh, um, you know uh thomas did you want to, go ahead and say a few words. Amazing, question that's why we're going there, i think the other thing i want to say there's an uh. A show right after this really focused, on science with all details, but you know if you look back from you know. Look at the data that we're going to i gather we you talked about. The weather, instrument kind of the the meta that is standing there and it's really a weather station. Or right there in a chest road crater. You go, look at the cameras, there's uh uh, numerous, cameras today oh you talked about supercam, there's a there's another, camera that is you know from a point of view of field of view and resolution, really quite unprecedented. Then you have. Uh the instruments, that are looking at uh. At uh. Composition. You know some of them remotely, some of them by looking at samples. And uh really, actually, equipping, us to, gather, the right samples, to actually. Gather them and put them into these. Very clean sample tubes to bring back you know everything. I would argue is set up for that to really get us that the ultimate data do you want to gather are these samples. I mean, for us those are the most precious. Samples. That. We believe we've had as humans, in terms of samples of nature. Of, really answering this important question of astrobiology. The, administrator. Talked about. That is the ultimate. You know data. Not only the sample itself but the context, in which this sample is collected. Uh we learn from geology, here we learn from, the important analysis, uh in every environment, uh that. That in fact, that context, is very important for the interpretation, thereof but i just want to block the session, later what did i miss meant. No i think you hit most of it, as as thomas said we have very powerful, spectrometers. Out on the end of the robot arm, we'll be able to look at the.
At The rock, at a spatial, resolution, of 100 microns, which is tiny, and really understand. From spot to spot you know how the chemical composition, of the rock uh changes. We've got spectrometers. Up on the top of the, the mast which i mentioned the super cam we've got zoom cameras, up there as well, we've got the weather station. Um. We also have a subsurface. Radar sounder for the first time on the surface of mars which will help us understand. Contextually. The geography. Of the landing, site. That's the norwegian, provided. Radar which i mentioned before. So. So we have a very very powerful suite of instruments. That will help us do exactly what thomas, said which is, find the right samples. To collect. You know we can't bring back a lot you know. A lot of material. When when we bring. These samples back and so we want to make sure we've gone to the right site we want to make sure we've picked the right targets. And we want to make sure we understand. Uh the context, and the chemistry. Of, those targets, when we bring them back. So, when you talk about what is the data that's coming back. Um you know, you mentioned spec. Spectroscopy. The idea that you can shoot energy. Into a material. Think of radio waves. Or, in this case, you know it could be light waves, or infrared, waves, and then, certain wavelengths. Bounce back and other wavelengths, are absorbed, and based, on that we can make determinations. As to. The chemical, composition, of the materials. And here on earth what we have been studying. Is the chemical composition. Of materials. Where we know. Those chemical, that chemical composition. Was a result. Of ancient, life, here on earth, so we're taking what we've learned from our own planet. And we're applying, it to another planet. To make determinations. As to whether or not. There was maybe at one time. Biology. Might you know we're talking about, microbial. Kind of organisms. On on mars. And and then once we make that determination. We know kidding. Cash a sample, if we think it's a high probability. That there could have been life in that, place. We cash a sample. So that one day, four years from now or i should say. 2026. Six years from now we can bring it back. Uh to earth. Um, and and study it and and actually make a no no kidding determination. Whether or not. Humans. Um, or i should say earth, is the only place. Uh in our own solar system that that has the capability, of hosting life and uh. That's that's i think one of the most exciting, things about this mission so thank you bettina. And thank you all, um in many ways you've answered, our next question from social media ralph bennett, asks. Why do we need another rover there, what. More can we learn from mars. Well there's a lot i'll let you guys, i think it's precisely. That you know, what's really interesting. Is like every time. We build a rover and you send it we send it there. With it go a number of questions, that we have for example. Spirit and opportunity, you talked about it matt earlier. Or questions about water. The history, of water. At the surface, of mars so the entire, instrument complement, was laid out for that. Curiosity. Was about. Really trying to understand, uh the composition, and order, any organics, right many questions. That were open and you know and really what we're learning from curiosity, and there's surprises. Even today. That the level of complexity. In some of these. Uh. Organics. Is much higher now it turns out, the word complex means the more complex, the more life kind of the more the likelihood.
To Life so that's why that's such an important characteristics. And so. So now what what uh perseverance, is is really. I would argue the first and we've said it uh the administrator, said it earlier the first mission that really had at its core. The question, about, life. Astrobiology. And therefore the instruments, are very different, um uh for that and it's, it's i would argue. Very hard to imagine, coming up with that instrument, complement. In that location, without. Uh the other, uh insights, that we got from these other uh, missions before the ones i mentioned as well as uh, uh others and so for us uh. It's a very different i mean it's you know, in science when you peel, back a layer, it's not like an onion where the, the layer that comes from below, it looks like the layer above it's a very, different. Set of questions that are there and you know we're peeling back that on in and frankly going after. A question that. Humans over a millennial, have asked and we're answering. For the first time with the tools of science potentially, the best way we can i mean for, for me that's what it's about, i mean that's, i mean that question, it's an old question. Like you go read old philosophers. Of the past the greeks, the wherever. The culture is the people have asked those questions, we're, we're starting to address, it with the instruments, that are there that's the amazing part of it. Very exciting. We're going to go to another question from our reporters, on the line, mike wall of space.com. Mike. Thank you all um. This one's probably again for. From that um, like you mentioned you had to pull off sort of like a magic trick with ingenuity, to sort of make it fit could you go into a little more detail about what you needed to do and. What what the exact challenges. Were sort of posed by, by that additional, payload. Thanks. Can i start this one if it's all right bettina, um. So this is probably, my fault matt and i and i and i apologize. Uh, thomas zurbukin. Brought this into the, into the administrator's. Suite. In my early days. As being the nasa administrator. And he had this you know this, you know hey, what if we were to do this and. Um, i, i loved it. And i told thomas, whatever you can do to make that happen i'm all for it and of course thomas. Brought that to you and so i know it was uh not easy to get done but. I will tell you, i i sent a tweet, about. It wasn't called ingenuity, at the time it was just called the mars helicopter, but i sent a tweet about it, on like a friday, afternoon, at 5 00 pm. And i didn't have a lot of twitter followers at the time and i sent a tweet and it was like, within, within an hour or two there's 5 000 retweets, i mean it just kind of. Caught fire and everybody and then all the media started covering it was a. Very exciting, moment so anyway i know it was difficult. Want you to know, how much i appreciate, all the work that you've done. So go ahead, i. I'll say i remember an all hands meeting where we were, right after we were asked to try to accommodate, the uh the helicopter. And. You know some of the managers. Were, kind of scratching their heads and and wondering how we were going to do this and, i asked for a show of hands from our own team. Who would like to see the helicopter. On, on this mission and pretty much every hand went up so, you know, even the people that had to, figure it out, were excited, by uh, by the project, and. And it was difficult, it's a very very unusual, payload, you know it's. It's very lightweight, you know. Because it has to fly in this. Very low density, air it's got these big stiff, carbon fiber. Blades. That sit out that have to be protected, from the debris, that we kick up for instance, during. Entry descent and landing. It's got legs, that that have to fold up and then have to be deployed, out. And. You know and we had to we, you know essentially the rover was full the inside of the vehicle, which is where we have most of our. Electronic, systems. So that we can keep them warm. That was full the top of the vehicle was pretty much. Overpopulated. Already, and so, uh, and we had to we had to, come up with a way of uh, accommodating. It and ultimately, we decided to put it up under the belly of the the vehicle. Uh it turns out that the belly pan, is is a pretty separable, thing we kind of take that belly pan off, and we can give it to the team that was developing, the accommodation. Engineering, systems, for the helicopter, and they. And they used some of our existing. Um. Actuators, and motors, and things like that. We sort of hunted around for available, uh spare, flight, hardware. To figure out how we could do it and get it on the vehicle. Uh in a way that. One. Kept the helicopter, safe, uh, and two. Allowed us to, um. Deploy, it off of the vehicle, in a way that it wouldn't represent, a risk or a threat. To the rest of the mission we called it.
The Objective, essentially was do no harm, to the primary, mission because this was an extra technology. Experiment. And and beyond, that our team was. Over subscribed. You know just with engineering, challenges, ourselves with the sampling, system and the instruments. And so we made a we made a phone call. And one of our system contractors, lockheed martin, in denver. Stepped up to the plate. We provided them a basic design, and some hardware. And some engineering, support, and, we were able to figure out how to how to accommodate, it underneath the vehicle. And then we went through a lot of testing, to make sure in fact that. That it would deploy that it would stop, appropriately, and it would deploy safely, on the surface of mars. And then of course we still had to figure out how to operate it once we got it there. And i think we we're working through those. Those opportunities. Uh, and and those issues so we'll be ready to go when it's time to fly the helicopter, on mars, but it wasn't easy. Fantastic. We're going to take our last question, from leo enright of irish television, leo. Thanks bettina, and indeed. Thanks to my wall mike, matt wallace, and. Uh and to dr, zabrukan, for their wonderful. Contributions. But my question is for the administrator. Um. Mars 2020. Is basically. Mars. 2026.. Um and i'm going to ask a political. Question which i think i can ask, because i'm an ocean away, so nobody is going to think i've got an agenda. A lot of your international. Partners, will be wondering. Will, you be willing to continue. To serve. As nasa, administrator. No matter who gets elected, in november. Now assuming, of course that you're asked. Look uh you know, my job right now is, is to do these stunning, achievements. On behalf of the united states of america. And uh look i appreciate, the question, but um. Look i i serve at the pleasure of the president. Um i serve at the pleasure of the current president, and, i think it's important that the next president, have the per has the the nasa, administrator. That. That, that he, wants. And. The way the political system in the united states works the nasa administrator, is selected, by the president i think it's important. You have to have that relationship, look at look at what we're doing right now. We've got the artemis, program, which we which we have reestablished. That we're going to the moon sustainably. That we're going with a purpose to get to mars. And because of that. Um we, we've had we've had really big budget requests, the president, of the united states has put on the table. The biggest budget that nasa has ever had. In nominal, dollars, ever, now of course in real dollars, apollo, was was bigger. But we're heading the right direction, and um. That's because, the the president of the united states. Trust the nasa administrator, and i would recommend. To whoever the president, is at any point in time, pick a nasa administrator, that you trust to get the job done period end of story. Um, and, look um. I've i've had the time of my life in this job i'm not going to lie it's the greatest job i've ever had. But i think there's a time when it's it's somebody else's turn and i am, i am under no illusions, that i'm the only one capable, of doing this job so. Um, there's a lot of people that um would be even better than me and and we'll leave it at that so, um thank you thank you for the question.
Thank You leo, um with that we're gonna end our questions we're gonna turn it over to final remarks, from nasa administrator. Well thank you bettina, and thank you. For the panel, uh participating. In this today what uh, what an exciting, time. Um and i know we we just had this conversation. About. Ingenuity. Um and the helicopter. That's going to fly on mars. I want to i want to kind of, put it in perspective, for a moment. Imagine. Looking. From, perseverance. Out at a helicopter. That is flying, around, perseverance. And the helicopter. Is looking, back, at perseverance. Getting us images of perseverance, what, perseverance. Is doing, we're going to be able to see with our own eyes with motion. Pictures, these kind of activities, happening. On another, world. And and i just can't tell you how excited, i am about. Ingenuity. And of course perseverance. The first astrobiology. Mission, we shouldn't forget. We're proving out that we can turn, the carbon dioxide. Atmosphere of mars into pure oxygen for life support because the president. Has given us agenda, an agenda. To, plant an american flag on mars and of course, to go with, our international. Partners, and our commercial, partners. All of which is in. President, trump's space policy, directive, one, so we have this big agenda. This is a precursor, mission but it's also, a scientific, mission. In its own right. And there's so much more to discover. And we're so looking forward to it so i just want to say thank you to everybody for paying attention. Um, if you know if you want to follow us if you want to participate. With us virtually. From thursday, forward. Nasa.gov. I would encourage everybody to go to nasa.gov. And, um, and this is all about the next generation, we want to inspire, people so, have your kids or your grandkids, tune in, this is a great moment, for not just the united states of america, but also for the. World. Thank you so much jim. And thank you so much for joining our conversation. The next briefing, will be the mars, 2020, science briefing, today at 3 p.m, and then we mentioned launch coverage begins on thursday. At 7 00 am, and the launch is at 7 50.. You can continue, to talk about the greatness, of this mars perseverance, rover in mars 2020, and mars ingenuity. By joining us at twitter and facebook at mars, perseverance. And. Hashtag. Countdown, to mars, thank you so much for joining us today, we'll see you again soon thank. You.