NASA’s Mars 2020 rover Perseverance gets a ‘go’ for launch

Nasa Persistence Rover

On Monday morning, NASA’s Perseverance rover passed its launch readiness review, the last big hurdle to clear before its launch. It is set to launch on July 30 from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a news conference that “The launch readiness review is complete, and we are indeed go for launch.”

According to NASA, the Mars rover will take-off during a two-hour window that opens at 7:50 am EDT. The launch window is set to be from July 30- August 15. Perseverance is supposed to land on 18 Feb 2021 on the Jezero Crater of Mars.

It is said to take 1 mars year (about 687 earth days) to complete the mission. The main job of the Perseverance rover is to seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for a possible return to earth.

Those samples will be brought back to Earth, perhaps as early as 2031, by the joint NASA/Europe Space Agency campaign. Once the Mars material is here, scientists around the world will scour it for signs of life and clues about the planet’s mysterious history.

“That’ll be the first time in history that we’ve done a Mars return mission,” Bridenstine said. “In fact, it’s the first time in history we’ve done a return mission from any planet.”

About Perseverance

Perseverance, a six-wheel car-sized rover, is said to be a copycat of NASA’s Curiosity rover, but with more upgrades and bulk. Perseverance has more self-driving capability, too, so it can cover more ground than Curiosity. The enhancements make for a higher mission price tag: nearly $3 billion (roughly Rs. 22,437 crores).

Perseverance Rover.
Source: NASA

The rover is said to demonstrate new technologies on the surface of Mars. One of its 10 instruments, called MOXIE, will generate oxygen from the Red Planet’s thin, carbon dioxide-dominated atmosphere.

Such gear, once scaled up, could help future astronauts explore the Red Planet, a goal NASA wants to achieve in the 2030s.

Its 7-foot (2-meter) robotic arm has a stronger grip and bigger drill for collecting rock samples, and it’s packed with 23 cameras. Perseverance is said to capture pictures and sounds that have never been seen before.

Attached to its belly, is the hitchhiking helicopter called Ingenuity. it weighs 4-lb (1.8kgs). It is said to run a few test flights, first-ever by a rotorcraft on an alien world.

How you can participate

Nasa has come up with different ways to engage people and get them excited about this launch. There are 3 main campaigns:

  1. Send your name to Mars– 10.9 million names flying with Perseverance are already on board, we are taking reservations! Send Your Name to Mars on NASA’s next flight to the Red Planet.
  2. Send us your #CountdowntoMars– Help us get ready for the upcoming launch by taking part in a global, collective #CountdownToMars. You can participate by creating your own version of a launch countdown and post it on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Tag #CountdowntoMars in your posts.
  3. Mars Perseverance Photo Booth– We can’t take you to Mars (yet!) but we can bring Mars to you virtually! It’s easy to put yourself on the launch pad, on the Red Planet, or next to the rover. Just follow these steps:
  • Upload your picture
  • Choose a background
  • Download and save your image
  • Share using #CountdownToMars

Watch NASA TV on Youtube to be a part of the live telecast of the launch on July 30, 2020.