LOS ANGELES, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have attached a remote sensing mast to the Mars 2020 rover earlier this month, according to a JPL release on Friday.
Full integration of the mast, including installation of science instrument sensors, electrical wiring and checkout, was concluded on June 11.
During Mars 2020's launch, interplanetary cruise, and its fast and fiery descent toward the Martian surface, the mast will be stowed flat on the rover's deck.
Soon after touchdown, the mast, which tops out at about 2.2 meters, will be raised to provide a high perch for the SuperCam, Mastcam-Z and Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer instruments as well as four Navcam engineering cameras, according to the JPL.
Mars 2020 is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in July 2020. It is expected to land at Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021.
The rover will be the first spacecraft in the history of planetary exploration with the ability to accurately retarget its point of touchdown during the landing sequence, which could prove essential to future crewed missions to the Moon and Mars, said the JPL.