• Question: What does the rover have to do once it’s on Mars?

    Asked by Josie.S on 5 Mar 2020. This question was also asked by ell-pick05.
    • Photo: Andrew Ball

      Andrew Ball answered on 5 Mar 2020:

      Its first job is to unfold its solar arrays to provide electricity, and establish communications with the Earth. Then we have to see what things look like around the lander and decide which ramp to drive down.

    • Photo: Craig Leff

      Craig Leff answered on 5 Mar 2020:

      Once the rover gets unfolded and ready, like Andrew Ball described, then her goal is to explore the Martian surface. She is smart enough to not crash into things or otherwise get into trouble, but her science is guided by scientists back on Earth. The science team work together to decide what they want her to do the next day, they check with the engineers to make sure it’s safe and she can do it. Then everyone works together to put together a set of commands, sort of like a computer program, which gets sent to the rover. She gets the commands, does her work, and sends us the results. Based on that, we plan what to do the next day. And the next day. And the day after that…