The mission marked the first step in an ambitious project to bring the first Martian rock samples back to Earth to be analyzed for evidence of ancient life.
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The six-wheeled rover will drill down and collect tiny geological samples.
But to help the project off the ground, mechanical engineering students at UC Merced worked with the Jet Propulsion Lab to help design all the moving components inside the rover.
Before @NASA's Mars rover leaves Earth, current and former members of UC Merced’s Fundamental #Tribology Lab conducted critical tests that will provide key information for the mission’s success. https://t.co/Aw7Nz21C2V pic.twitter.com/ktyDeMFs6g— UC Merced (@ucmerced) July 28, 2020
"So the rover that they sent up has all these arms and things that move around and the engineering that we use here on Earth to enable that movement really doesn't necessarily translate to the space environment," said Ashlie Martini, professor at UC Merced.
Instead of things like oil and grease that is used on Earth, the students came up with new technology to help keep the Perseverance working on Mars.
NASA officials said they'd know more about the mission's success when the device returns home in about a decade.