LOS ANGELES-Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have successfully conducted a spin table test for Mars 2020 rover to reveal its center of gravity, according to a JPL release.

This was the assembled rover’s first spin table test, a key part of ensuring its safe journey to Mars scheduled for July 2020.

The 1,040-kg Martian vehicle was rotated clockwise and counterclockwise at about 1 revolution per minute on a spin table in the clean room of the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at JPL in Pasadena, California.

The engineers were looking for the rover’s center of gravity, or the point at which weight is evenly dispersed on all sides.

Establishing the rover’s center of gravity is a key part of the assembly process and helps ensure that the spacecraft travels smoothly from launch to entry, descent and landing on Mars as calculated, said JPL.

Engineers can add weights in order to help balance out the vehicle. In the end, they affixed nine tungsten weights totaling 20 kg to the rover chassis at predetermined attachment points to get the center of gravity just right.

“The spin table process is similar to how a gas station would balance a new tire before putting it on your car,” said Lemil Cordero, Mars 2020 mass properties engineer at JPL.