Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover mission launched to Red Planet-NK#135213

NewsBlogRead Mars rover Perseverance went into safe mode shortly after launch
By Brendyn Lotz

When a vessel enters safe mode, it shuts down all but essential systems until it receives new commands from mission control.

True to this agonizing year that is 2020, yesterday's launch of NASA's Perseverance Mars rover was not without problems.

Mars 2020 sent its first signal to ground controllers at 9:15 am (6:45 pm IST) but it was not until 11:30 am (9:00 pm IST) that it established telemetry - more detailed spacecraft data. A major setback for the Mars 2020 mission is exactly what we don't need right now.

Perseverance will conduct an experiment to convert elements of the carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere into propellant for future rockets launching off the Martian surface, or to produce breathable oxygen for future astronauts.

Perseverance Rover is part of NASA's long-term robotic exploration program of Mars.

Aboard the rover are the Sample Caching System and the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, a technology demonstrator that will perform up to five controlled flights. A NASA-provided payload on the orbiter would provide the capabilities needed to capture and contain the samples, placing them in an Earth entry vehicle that would land the samples safely on US soil. The data acquired during these flight tests will help the next generation of Mars helicopters provide an aerial dimension to Mars explorations - potentially scouting for rovers and human crews, transporting small payloads, or investigating difficult-to-reach destinations.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory Director Mike Watkins joked about the California quake, saying it was "just the Earth being excited about going to Mars".

"This is a known issue that we have encountered on other planetary missions, including during the launch of NASA's Curiosity rover in 2011", explained Matt Wallace, deputy project manager for the Mars 2020 mission, in a NASA statement. But if there was ever a team that could make it happen, it is this one.

It is expected to land on the planet on February 18, 2021. NASA's Launch Services Program, based at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is responsible for launch management, and ULA provided the Atlas V rocket.



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