Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Successful Mars rover landing with KONGSBERG technology on board

February 18, 2021, NASA's latest Mars rover “Perseverance” landed smoothly and safely on the surface of Mars after a seven-month journey from the Earth.

People all over the world watched the harrowing landing on the Red Planet live on NASA TV.

Perseverance's goal is to discover what really happened to the oceans and whether Mars has ever been an abode for life. The Mars rover is equipped with a robotic arm and a drill to penetrate into the Martian surface to collect samples.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Illustration of NASA’s Perseverance rover landing on Mars

The rover will then analyze and store the sample cores in tubes. It will pave the way for future missions to collect the samples and return them to Earth for intensive laboratory analysis.

Norwegian geo radar on the surface of Mars

Perseverance is equipped with a ground-penetrating radar instrument to see beneath Mars' surface. Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) developed the Radar, known as RIMFAX, in collaboration with the other Norwegian companies KONGSBERG, COMROD and Inventas.

-Our dedicated Space Electronics team in Horten has assembled, qualified and delivered the RIMFAX Electronics and contributed with consultation in the design process of RIMFAX. We are thrilled being part of this exiting program, says Ellen Dahler Tuset, Vice President Division Space & Surveillance in KONGSBERG.

The University of Oslo controls RIMFAX, from the Centre for Space Sensors and Systems (CENSSS) located in Kjeller. Perseverance is the fifth rover to complete the voyage since 1997, and RIMFAX is the first Norwegian payload on Mars, and the very first Norwegian geo radar on the surface of the red planet.

ESA Mars orbiters supported Perseverance landing

In order to communicate with Earth from its landing site in Jezero Crater, Perseverance relied on the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) spacecraft orbiting Mars.

As TGO orbit took over the landing site, the spacecraft entered communication windows with Perseverance and relied data between Earth and the rover via a network of deep space ground stations on Earth.

TGO arrived at Mars in October 2016 and is conducting a detailed study of the atmosphere and mapping signatures of water below the planet’s surface.
KONGSBERG has developed and delivered the Solar Array Drive Mechanisms for the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Perseverance Rover’s first image from Mars

Follow the Perseverance rover mission:

All photos are credited: NASA/JPL-Caltech.