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Mars 2020/Perseverance Landing Challenge


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Planned to land on February 18th, the Mars 2020/Perseverance rover is designed to better understand the geology of Mars and seek signs of ancient life. The mission will collect and store a set of rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth in the future. It will also test new technologies for future exploration.

Curiously enough, Kerbals have also been preparing a similar mission to Duna, but they need some help to design and successfully complete the entry, descent, and landing sequence of their Dunian Rover. Are you up for the challenge?

To successfully complete this challenge, you’ll need to:

  • Build a six-wheeled rover that looks as closely as possible to NASA’s Perseverance Rover, plus all the components needed for the entry, descent and landing sequence.

  • Use an orbiting CommNet relay to control the spacecraft.

  • Perform a cruise stage separation before entering the atmosphere.

  • Use a heat shield and fairings for the backshell to enter the atmosphere.

  • Include a parachute deployment and heat shield separation stage.

  • Separate from the backshell and begin a powered descent

  • Separate from the Descent stage and touchdown!

  • Collect some samples using the robotic rover arm.

  • Post a video or screenshots on this thread showcasing your successful mission.


  • Additional points if you deploy a Duna Helicopter, too. 

  • Additional points if you land on a Dunian Crater 



You have until February 18th to complete the challenge. As we did with the Demo-2 Mission and the Space Station Anniversary, NASA will be reviewing submissions and liking their favorites, so don’t miss out!

Looking for some tips/inspiration? Check out Matt Lowne’s Kerbal-take on the Perseverance/Recovery mission here.

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I wont be entering as I haven't played for a while but I made a stock curiosity rover mission before the robotic parts and I hope this video will give some inspiration for thiers.

Good luck Kerbonaughts!




Edited by Majorjim!
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Alright, time for my submission. I'll put it in a spoiler to avoid cluttering the thread.



Atlas V on the pad. I'm quite proud of how good I was able to make this look.



I had to fly a more lofted ascent than I usually do, because the Atlas V's second stage is inside its payload fairing. This was a slightly overbuilt rocket, anyway, so I had the margin.




Fairing and first-stage separation. The Centaur stage now pushes Perseverance and its cruise stage the rest of the way into orbit.



The Centaur had just enough dV to complete the transfer to Duna. Once that was done, the vehicle separated from the spent stage.


A couple of mid-course correction maneuvers were required, but I got to Duna just fine.

Time for a landing! I made a video :)


(Sorry for the watermark, Bandicam is the only recording software I could find that my old computer could handle while also running KSP. And yes, my youtube username is different to my forum username, it's still me :P)

Once down, Ingenuity was deployed! This tiny helicopter was a pain to fly, but with some fiddling I think I got the hang of it. 


Perseverance then headed off to scan a rock. This turned out to be a meteorite - I wonder where it came from?



This was a fun mission! :D


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Alright, here's my first attempt at an actual replica mission. Here goes

Design of spacecraft:


The general goal here is to get the masses exactly correct. I used the numbers on the Mars 2020 Wikipedia article.

Perseverance itself is 1025 kg or 1.025 tons:


I also tried to get all the other features of the rover in about the right positions. Some of them didn't require much thought. The arm, the RTG, the pressure and temperature sensors, and the deployable rover wheels really only had one option. For MOXIE (Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment), I used the Surface Scanning Module because its purpose is roughly the same - to assess whether ISRU is practical on the surface. For the wind sensor probes I used the Communotron 16 just because it looks similar. For the cameras I used RCS thrusters and spotlights, again because there aren't really any cameras in KSP and those parts looked the most similar. The mast is a fuel duct and the mast structure is another spotlight with a flag over the rectangular part to fix the coloring. The rocker bogie system is made from structural plates. Finally, for the RIMFAX radar antenna, I used the HG-5 high gain antenna because it's the smallest form factor antenna when deployed.


The skycrane is 1.070 tons for a total of 2.095 tons. I just tried to get the mass right while having a good amount of delta-v, for easier landing. It's actually quite overpowered - it might be able to land the rover even if Duna had no atmosphere - but I'm not too good at landing things anyway, so it's nice to have the margin.


The heat shield is 440 kg for a total of 2.535 tons. The standard heat shields are too heavy, even with all the ablator removed, so I use a fairing. Fairings have good heat resistance but are quite a bit less massive. The heat shield isn't even necessary on Duna because of the low speeds and cold atmosphere, but for something like Eve, it would be good to have.


The backshell is 575 kg for a total of 3.11 tons, consisting of a fairing and a parachute. The fairing isn't closed, which means it generates a large amount of drag.


The cruise stage is 539 kg for a total of 3.649 tons. This only has a couple hundred m/s but that's actually way overkill for just interplanetary course corrections.


Now I've stopped trying to get the masses exactly correct. The Centaur stage is powered by a single RE-L10, which is the obvious analog for a RL-10. It has way too much delta-v so I'll discard it after the Duna transfer burn.


Centaur with payload fairing. I tried to get it to look like the Atlas V fairing but it's a bit too wide for the Centaur stage. This is what happens when you try to mix IRL scale and KSP scale - things start to misalign. It's not too bad though.


Finally, the Common Core booster and the SRBs. There's no real analog in KSP for the RD-180 so I use a bicoupler with two KS-25 engines. It looks similar and has a similar engine exhaust color, while also having a pretty realistic TWR. The main challenge with this was getting the SRB locations mostly correct. I basically had a three way symmetry, replaced it with a one way symmetry plus a mirror symmetry pair, and moved stuff around until it worked. An annoying issue was that the Thumper SRB is too short, the Kickback SRB is too long, and the Thoroughbred SRB is too wide. So I stacked an empty liquid fuel tank on top of the Thumper to get the length correct, which doesn't hurt TWR very much.

Launch, Duna transfer:



Launch. Notice the yaw from asymmetrical thrust, which is corrected by engine gimbal - just like the real Atlas V. Why did they even do that in the first place?


Booster separation. Low TWR means I angle slightly above prograde to build vertical velocity and benefit from body lift.


Gravity turn


Centaur finishes circularizing the orbit.


Duna transfer


Course correction


Separation from cruise stage




Getting toasty


Heat shield separation


Parachute reefed, backshell fairing detached to increase drag


Parachute fully deployed


Parachute detached, skycrane active


Near ground


Wheels deployed


Skycrane detached

Surface operations:



Crater science!


I couldn't find a breaking ground surface feature - my breaking ground install is kinda broken anyway. So I just probe a big rock I find


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Here is my perseverance mission . I did it without any DLC (because I dont have them) . I had to improvise to solve the lack of parts .

The launch


The rocket is around 600 parts

If the rocket is big , it is because I built a huge rover , that you will see later in the mission







Duna transfer .


Now that we reached orbit , let's go to Duna .







After being into a stable orbit around Duna , I aimed for a crater and started the descent .









A look at the rover


Here is my interpretation of the Perseverance rover . Because I didn't have the DLCs , the smell helicopter and the robotic arm do not move , and to collect a sample of the ground , I used a drill . I also took some artistical liberties (the RTG is at the wrong place) , but anyways I am very peased of how this rover turned out , and I hope you like it too .







Edited by Hdeedose
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am i too late????

EDIT: Im not few ima try to do this but i dont have any idea how to post screenshots (by that i mean please tell me how to post screenshots). I also dont have the best rig so it wont have a heli (unless...) Anyways are mods allowed because i have BDB.....

Edited by Rocketry101
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38 minutes ago, Rocketry101 said:

am i too late????

EDIT: Im not few ima try to do this but i dont have any idea how to post screenshots (by that i mean please tell me how to post screenshots). I also dont have the best rig so it wont have a heli (unless...) Anyways are mods allowed because i have BDB.....

Submissions close on the 18th so you still have time.

And there are other submissions that have used mods so you should be ok on that as well.

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10 minutes ago, RealKerbal3x said:

Upload them to https://imgur.com/ (you don't need to make an account) and copy and paste them into your post.

alright!! This is gonna be an intersting one. Im going to see if mission control has any science or rover contracts so the rover ins't just a submission

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