Pre- and Post-entry, Descent and Landing Assessment of the Martian Atmosphere for the Mars 2020 Rover

Mischna, Michael A.; Villar, Gregory; Kass, David M.; Dutta, Soumyo; Rafkin, Scot; Tyler, Daniel; Barnes, Jeffrey; Cantor, Bruce; Lewis, Stephen R.; Hinson, David; Pla-García, Jorge; Kleinböhl, Armin and Karlgaard, Chris (2022). Pre- and Post-entry, Descent and Landing Assessment of the Martian Atmosphere for the Mars 2020 Rover. The Planetary Science Journal, 3(6) p. 147.



This review provides an analysis of activities undertaken by the Mars 2020 Council of Atmospheres (CoA) in support of the entry, descent, and landing (EDL) of the Mars 2020 rover Perseverance in Jezero crater, Mars. The activities of the CoA were designed to evaluate the safety of early-stage landing site candidates and, later, to constrain the range of plausible conditions expected at Jezero crater during the early northern spring season of EDL, following the successful blueprint of similar councils for prior landed Mars missions. The multiyear effort of the CoA involved using a combination of numerical modeling of the local Martian atmosphere with limited-domain mesoscale models and atmospheric reanalysis using data assimilation techniques, along with atmospheric observations from multiple orbiting assets, to generate an atmospheric “forecast” for the day of landing. Here we present an overview of these activities, focusing in greater detail on those elements that depart from prior CoA activities as performed for Mars Phoenix, Mars Science Laboratory, and the InSight lander. Following the successful landing of Perseverance on 2021 February 18, reconstruction and reassessment activities were performed and are presented here, comparing prelanding predictions with actual, as-flown conditions.

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