We will have to wait just one more month until the launch of NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance. The robot will lift-off atop the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, from the 20th of July and the 11th of August.
However, this has not been an easy thing to do. Teams had to prepare and rover and the rocket for lift-off, while the pandemic still happened, which forced NASA to close its facilities. However, the space agency prioritized getting Perseverence ready on time for the launch, while they still protected the workers. The Mars-mission launch windows open once every 26 months, so they had to do it now.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine stated: “If we have to take Perseverance and put it back into storage for a period of two years, it could cost half a billion dollars.” This is besides the $2.7 billion total prices for the mission, which is called Mars 2020.
When the rover lifts-off during the window, it will land on the 18th of February, 2021, inside the Jezero Crater, of 45 kilometers. There used to be a lake and a river delta billions of years ago, and Perseverence will use its instruments in order to give us more insight about the environment there. Astronomers were looking for life on Mars.
There is no robot that looked for signs of life on Mars since NASA’s twin Viking landers, which touched the surface of the Red Planet in the mid-1970s.
However, the results from the Vikings lander were a bit ambiguous, and they did not precisely show if there was alien life. Perseverance will collect several dozen pristine samples, which will then be brought back to Earth in 2031, should the plans go as planned.