On pages of our site we already repeatedly wrote about the development of the Mars 2020 Rover, which will have in a couple of years to go to the Red planet. Now the project is active in the testing phase, but not so long ago during the tests, the mission was under threat and may be delayed for some time due to a malfunction of the heat of the screen of the Rover.
According to Engadget, the heatshield should protect the entire system from damage during landing and entering the atmosphere. At this point, heatshield will have to withstand temperatures up to 2000 degrees Celsius, and the extremely large pressure drops.
During the tests, the engineers subjected the shield to heat and pressure by approximately 20% more than planned, in order to avoid emergency situations. And since the recent experiments revealed that the screen is cracked in the area of the outer edge. This “hole” could destroy a large part of the equipment or even render the Rover inoperable. So in this situation there is a plus: it is better to lose one protective screen today and improve the technology, than to lose all of the Rover to fail the mission. Now the engineers will be forced to order from Lockheed Martin (and they do manufacture some components for the upcoming mission) the new screen and find a way out of this situation in order to avoid such problems.
Recall that the Rover will travel to Mars on the rocket Atlas-5 and the mission will be investigated geological structure, composition of the atmosphere, soil and natural resources of the red planet. But the most interesting phase will attempt to get the oxygen in the harsh conditions of the Martian atmosphere.