NASA's Mars Rover, Perseverance, Set To Launch July 30
The NASA Mars rover called Perseverance has completed the final stage of testing and has been cleared to launched on July 30 to seek out ancient microbial life on the Red Planet, according to a report by News 18.
"The launch readiness review is complete, and we are indeed go for launch," said administrator Jim Bridenstine. "We are in extraordinary times right now with the coronavirus pandemic, and yet we have in fact persevered and we have protected this mission because it is so important."
The launch is set to occur at 7:50 a.m. on Thursday, July 30. Perseverance will take off from Cape Canaveral, Florida on board a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The rover will face a seven-month journey in space before landing at Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021.
Those who wish to watch the launch can do so via YouTube and other social media platforms that will host live coverage of the historic event.
Perseverance is a six-wheeled robot that weighs 2,300 pounds. It is about the size of an SUV and is NASA’s fifth and most advanced Mars rover so far.
The rover hosts a small helicopter called Ingenuity which is going to hopefully help it fly—doing so would make it the first rover to fly on another planet. The rover also has a robotic arm, a multitude of cameras, and a pair of microphones.
It also contains two lasers and an X-ray capable of chemical analysis, which will assist the rover in looking for evidence of fossilized bacteria.
The rover will collect rock and soil samples to bring back to Earth for analysis. These will help scientists determine whether any of the gathered organic compounds were the products of living processes.
With the launch of Perseverance, the US will become the third nation to journey to Mars this month.
China also launched a rover called Tianwen-1, which means “Questions to Heaven”. If China succeeds, they will become the second nation, after the US, to host a rover on another planet.
In addition to China’s rover, the United Arab Emirates also launched an orbital probe from Japan called Al-Amal, or “hope”.
Read the full report here.