First Multiple-Sol Drive
Mars Perseverance Sol 351 - Left Navigation Camera: Sol 351 Perseverance Navcam image. Looking back at rover tracks and over South Séítah during the sol 350-352 multiple-sol drive as the rover autonomously navigated around Séítah from the Western to the Eastern edge. The image was taken after the second sol of the multiple-sol drive. The rover started at the extreme upper right, beyond the ripple field. Also in the image are faint tracks from the inbound journey.  Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

Perseverance capped its first year on Mars by speeding back around Séítah toward what is expected to be the final sampling location in its crater floor campaign. The drive on Mars was split across three different sols executing instructions planned in a single day on Earth, making this Perseverance’s first multiple-sol drive.

Why are we excited about the multiple-sol drive? It creates an opportunity to drive a great distance in a longer plan, typically during holidays or weekends when new planning doesn’t occur on Earth. Recently in the sol 350-352 plan we commanded a three-sol drive that resulted in the longest-single-sol total distance recorded by any Mars rover (319.79m) on sol 351, and the longest distance of any Mars rover in a single plan without ground intervention (509.75m). Two reasons that made the multiple-sol drive  more challenging than driving the same distance in three single-sol plans are uncertainty and complexity.

Autonav is very good at detecting the geometric obstacles it encounters near the rover (like large rocks and high slopes) and avoids these. There are certain non-geometric hazards, like sand that it is does not detect on its own and rover planners mark these areas using “keep-out-zone” locations in the rover’s world map, which serves as it’s map of Mars. As the rover drives it accumulates some uncertainty, or error, in its knowledge of where it is on Mars. Even though its Visual Odometry (VO) capability is able to measure and compensate for slip, making this relatively small, the uncertainty accumulates over large distances. The rover knows that as it’s driving its knowledge of where the keep-out-zones are is getting less certain. Perseverance models that knowledge as an accumulating “uncertainty distance” and will enlarge keep-out zones by that amount. A viable corridor with one or more edges along a keep-out-zone can therefore potentially shrink by tens of meters making it challenging for Autonav to find a path through terrain in the far distance. We reset the position uncertainty to zero every time we uplink a new set of drive instructions because we also localize the rover precisely on Mars. This makes corridors within a single-sol distance easier for Autonav to navigate and we used this in the sol 353 drive as we drove up North.

Planning a three-sol drive is also more complex because we must create and evalute three times as many drive path segments and associated terrain evaluations. At planning time we cannot know exactly where the previous autonomous drive will end up on Mars, and this needs to be factored into each sol’s drive plan. Longer command creation and review times are also compressed into a single planning day.

We have arrived at Ch’ał for our final crater floor sampling and are looking forward to many more multiple-sol drives on our journey to the Jezero delta!

About This Blog

These blog updates are provided by self-selected Mars 2020 mission team members who love to share what Perseverance is doing with the public.

Dates of planned rover activities described in these blogs are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.

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  • Mariah Baker
    Planetary Scientist, Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
    Washington, DC
  • Matthew Brand
    SuperCam/ChemCam Engineer, Los Alamos National LaboratoryLos Alamos National Laboratory
  • Sawyer Brooks
    Docking Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Adrian Brown
    Deputy Program Scientist, NASA HQ
    Washington, DC
  • Denise Buckner
    Student Collaborator, University of Florida
    Gainesville, FL
  • Fred Calef III
    Mapping Specialist, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Stephanie Connell
    SuperCam, PhD Student, Purdue University
    West Lafayette, IN
  • Alyssa Deardorff
    Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Kenneth Farley
    Project Scientist, Caltech
    Pasadena, CA
  • Phylindia Gant
    Mars 2020 Student Collaborator, University of Florida
    Gainesville, FL
  • Brad Garczynski
    Student Collaborator, Purdue University
    West Lafayette, IN
  • Erin Gibbons
    Student Collaborator, McGill University
    Montreal, Canada
  • Michael Hecht
    Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) Principal Investigator, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Westford, MA
  • Louise Jandura
    Chief Engineer for Sampling & Caching, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Elisha Jhoti
    Ph.D. Student, University of California, Los Angeles
    Los Angeles, CA
  • Bavani Kathir
    Student Collaborator on Mastcam-Z, Western Washington University
  • Lydia Kivrak
    Student Collaborator, University of Florida
    Gainesville, FL
  • Athanasios Klidaras
    Ph.D. Student, Purdue University
  • Rachel Kronyak
    Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Steven Lee
    Perseverance Deputy Project Manager, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • An Li
    Student Collaborator on PIXL, University of Washington
  • Justin Maki
    Imaging Scientist and Mastcam-Z Deputy Principal Investigator, NASA/JPL
  • Forrest Meyen
    MOXIE Science Team Member, Lunar Outpost
  • Sarah Milkovich
    Assistant Science Manager, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Eleanor Moreland
    Ph.D. Student, Rice University
    Houston, Texas
  • Asier Munguira
    Ph.D. Student, University of the Basque Country
  • Matt Muszynski
    Vehicle Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Claire Newman
    Atmospheric Scientist, Aeolis Research
    Altadena, CA
  • Avi Okon
    Sampling Operations Deputy Lead, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Pegah Pashai
    Vehicle Systems Engineer Lead, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • David Pedersen
    Co-Investigator, PIXL Instrument, Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
    Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Eleni Ravanis
    Student Collaborator, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
    Honolulu, HI
  • Thirupathi Srinivasan
    Robotic Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
  • Kathryn Stack
    Deputy Project Scientist, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Vivian Sun
    Science Operations Systems Engineer, Staff Scientist, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Iona (Brockie) Tirona
    Sampling Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Jennifer Trosper
    Project Manager, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Vandi Verma
    Chief Engineer for Robotic Operations, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Rick Welch
    Deputy Project Manager, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Roger Wiens
    Principal Investigator, SuperCam / Co-Investigator, SHERLOC instrument, Purdue University
    West Lafayette, IN

Tools on the Perseverance Rover+

The Perseverance rover has tools to study the history of its landing site, seek signs of ancient life, collect rock and soil samples, and help prepare for human exploration of Mars. The rover carries:


Where is the Rover?

Image of a rover pin-point at Perseverance's location on Mars, Jezero Crater

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