NASA Rover En Route to Mars to Look for Signs of Life

On Thursday morning researchers will take a step closer to understanding the universe as NASA prepares to launch the Mars 2020 rover

At 7:50 a.m. from Cape Canaveral, the car-sized rover was spirited away on an Atlas V rocket.

On February 18, 2021, Perseverance will begin its seven-minute descent, taking photos along the way.

The robotic explorer was propelled into space by an Atlas 5 rocket operated by the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between private aerospace companies Boeing and Lockheed.

Nasa has launched its latest Mars exploration rover, Perseverance, from Florida. This awesome explorer's journey has already required the very best from all of us to get it to launch through these challenging times.

"We had a good launch this morning, we're right on course for Mars and signal from @NASAPersevere is strong". However, we can persevere.

He said: "This fantastic opportunity brings some of the finest minds in the world together to solve one of the biggest questions in the Solar System: 'was there life on Mars?'"

And after eight years of careful planning, invention and checking off a high-tech packing list, NASA's fifth Mars rover was ready for launch. It's bringing 23 cameras, more than any other interplanetary mission, and seven scientific instruments to study the planet and send data back to Earth. According to NASA, although the signals sent by the spacecraft after its launch were received by the agency's ground stations, they weren't processed properly. Data indicate the spacecraft had entered a state known as safe mode, likely because a part of the spacecraft was a little colder than expected while Mars 2020 was in Earth's shadow. Meenakshi Wadhwa, director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration, explained during a webinar before the launch that samples have never before been collected from the planet. As of writing, NASA is working to perform full health assessments on the spacecraft and is working to return it to a nominal configuration.

Also Read | NASA Mars 2020 Mission: Perseverance Rover Launched Successfully, 10 Points to Know.

From his base at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, Matt Wallace, the mission's deputy project manager, said in an online update that the spacecraft is healthy, and well and truly on its way to Mars. "As our instruments investigate rocks along an ancient lake bottom and select samples to return to Earth, we may very well be reaching back in time to get the information scientists need to say that life has existed elsewhere in the universe".

All the materials, designs, and environmental testing of the tires were handled at NASA Glenn's simulated lunar operations lab to ensure they can handle the harsh landscape.

Aboard Perseverance is a 1.8kg autonomous helicopter named Ingenuity that is due to test powered flight on Mars for the first time. Engineers hope to perform several flights of Ingenuity over 30 days to test its performance.

A Mars helicopter is also being transported with the rover.

The liftoff of Perseverance is the third Mars exploration of the worldwide community this year following China's first Mars mission, Tianwen-1, and the first Mars orbiter of the United Arab Emirates earlier this month.

The launch took place after the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California - where its mission engineers were located - was rattled by an natural disaster.

United Kingdom scientists and researchers continue to play an indispensable role in the most impressive worldwide space missions, helping to further our understanding of our extraordinary Solar System. But if there was ever a team that could make it happen, it is this one.

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