NASA will launch the Perseverance Rover to Mars next week!

by Evelyn Arevalo July 25, 2020

NASA will launch the Perseverance Rover to Mars next week!

Featured Image Source: NASA

NASA is ready to launch the Perseverance Rover to Mars. The rover will carry a small helicopter called ‘Ingenuity’. It will be the first-time scientists attempt to fly a helicopter on the Martian surface. Next week, on Thursday July 30th, a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket is scheduled to launch during a launch the duo during a window initiating at 7:50 a.m. EDT. from Space Launch Complex-41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The agency will live-stream the mission, linked below. Perseverance and Ingenuity will embark on a 7-month-long voyage towards the Red Planet. The spacecraft is expected to arrive by February 18, 2021. 




The rover and helicopter duo are tasked with a couple of scientific research missions. One is to study the Red Planet’s habitability; it will seek signs of ancient life and also analyze the planet's climate to pave the way for human exploration. Perseverance will land on a 28-mile-wide Jezero Crater that astrobiologists believe it once was filled with water, to collect rock samples and save them inside a storage for return to Earth on a future mission.

 – “Data from orbiters at the Red Planet suggest that water once flowed into the crater, carrying clay minerals from the surrounding area, depositing them in the crater and forming a delta. We find similar conditions on Earth, where the right combination of water and minerals can support life,” the agency explains in a mission preview, “By comparing these to the conditions we find on Mars, we can better understand the Red Planet's ability to support life. The Perseverance rover is specially designed to study. the habitability of Mars' Jezero Crater using a suite of scientific instruments, or tools, that can evaluate the environment and the processes that influence it.”



The nuclear-powered Perseverance will carry 7 scientific instruments to analyze terrain. It also features 23 cameras and two microphones. NASA officials shared the Perseverance rover also features unique technology that could one day aid human Mars exploration missions. One of the unique instruments called 'MOXIE,' short for Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment, is designed to separate oxygen from carbon dioxide [CO2] in Mars. It will test-out if it could generate oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, which consists of 96% CO2 – only 0.13% oxygen. For perspective, there is 21% oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere. Oxygen is essential for human survival, achieving producing it on Mars with an instrument like MOXIE could facilitate human colonization. If it works, the agency plans on sending a larger-scale instrument to produce oxygen on the Red Planet.

The Ingenuity helicopter that will ride atop Perseverance is a new experimental technology. NASA will assess if it will be capable of safely flying through the rough Martian environment. Ingenuity will help the Perseverance rover search for locations to study; it is solar-powered, equipped to provide overhead images with ten times higher resolution of orbital images. Aerial exploration of Mars will provide more data to map the planet’s surface and plan astronauts’ future travel routes. It carries no scientific instruments, only cameras. 



The Perseverance team at NASA is thankful for the dedication of the medical community amid the Coronavirus outbreak. In appreciation, the agency installed an aluminum plate that features an image of Earth and a serpent-entwined rod, pictured above, which represents the medical community supporting our planet during difficult times. The special plate is attached on the left side of the Perseverance rover chassis, between the middle and rear wheels. “We wanted to demonstrate our appreciation for those who have put their personal well-being on the line for the good of others,” said Matt Wallace, Perseverance deputy project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “It is our hope that when future generations travel to Mars and happen upon our rover, they will be reminded that back on Earth in the year 2020 there were such people.” 



“Our deepest thanks go to the many teams who have worked so hard to get Perseverance ready to y during these challenging times,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said. “This mission is emblematic of our nation’s spirit of meeting problems head-on and finding solutions together. The incredible science Perseverance will enable and the bold human missions it will help make possible are going to be inspirations for us all.”

Previous  / Next