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Jacobs Teams with NASA’s JPL to Support Mars Perseverance Rover; Steve Arnette, Trevor Graff Quoted

3 mins read

Jacobs announced on Thursday that the company has partnered with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to build a new calibration device for the Mars Perseverance Rover. 

"NASA's Mars Perseverance Rover is equipped with sophisticated scientific instruments to aid in the search for signs of past life on Mars," said Jacobs Critical Mission Solutions senior vice president Steve Arnette. "The calibration device is another example of Jacobs' long standing partnership with NASA in delivering innovative technologies that lead to scientific discoveries."

One of the devices called the Scanning Habitable Environments with Ramen & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC) will be used to detect chemicals on the Martian surface that are linked to the possible existence of ancient life. 

The calibration device is mounted on the front of the rover so that researchers can check SHERLOC's analytical instrumentation's accuracy by directing it to scan the baseline materials on the calibration target. 

The researchers will know in advance what the readings on those materials should be when SHERLOC is working correctly. If the actual readings are off, they can make adjustments to SHERLOC to get it set properly or know to compensate for the errors when they analyze the data later.

"The rover's scientific instruments go through all sorts of harsh conditions from the time they leave the lab until they arrive on the surface of Mars," said Jacobs chief scientist Trevor Graff. "SHERLOC needed a way to make sure it still operates as expected once it's on the surface and throughout the duration of the mission."

The Mars Perseverance Rover was launched on July 30h, 2020 to find signs of past microbial life and collect rock and soil samples. NASA's Rover will travel over a seven-month period to the red planet. 

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With $13 billion in revenue and a talent force of more than 55,000, Jacobs provides a full spectrum of professional services including consulting, technical, scientific and project delivery for the government and private sector.