Perseverance is scheduled to launch this Thursday, July 30, from Florida’s Cape Canaveral. NASA‘s Mars 2020 mission was originally pencilled in for a July 17 liftoff but was hit with a series of delays in recent weeks. Perseverance is now all packed up waiting for its first launch window to open.
The daily launch window will open on Thursday at 12.50pm BST (7.50am EDT, 4.50am PDT).
The windows will last between 30 minutes and two hours, with a unique launch opportunity ever five minutes.
NASA will have to launch Perseverance between July 30 and August 15.
After that, the space agency will not have another opportunity to launch the rover until 2022.
Perseverance launch: NASA’s newest Mars rover is expected to launch on Thursday, July 30
Perseverance launch: The NASA rover heading to the launchpad
But if the rover takes off this week as planned, NASA expects Perseverance to touch down in Mars’ Jezero crater on February 18, 2021.
Matt Wallace, deputy project manager for the mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), said last week: “We’re pleased to be passing another milestone with the completion of the Flight Readiness Review.
“But we’ll keep our heads through the final prelaunch activities and the opening of the launch window next week, until we’re certain this spacecraft is safely on its way.
“Mars is a tough customer and we don’t take anything for granted.”
Perseverance will fly aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.
Mars is a tough customer and we don’t take anything for granted
How to watch NASA launch the Perseverance rover:
NASA’s launch activities will be broadcast live online and you can follow Express.co.uk on the day for the live streams and latest news.
Live coverage will begin at 12pm BST (7am EDT, 4am PDT) on NASA TV.
NASA TV is the space agency’s round-the-clock public broadcasting available online and some terrestrial TV channels. in the US.
The broadcast will be shared here on Express.co.uk, NASA’s website, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Theta TV, Daily Motion and Twitch.
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NASA said: “As part of the broadcast, Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Gregory Porter will perform a special rendition of America the beautiful.”
Perseverance is NASA’s latest Mars rover designed to search for evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars.
The rover will collect and analyse soil samples, storing them in containers for future return to Earth.
Perseverance will also study the Red Planet’s climate and geology to pave the way for future crewed missions.
Alongside Perseverance, NASA is launching the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter – the first attempt at powered flight on an alien world.
Håvard Grip, Ingenuity’s chief pilot at NASA’s JPL, said: “The Wright Brothers showed that powered flight in Earth’s atmosphere was possible, using an experimental aircraft. With Ingenuity, we’re trying to do the same thing.”
Because the Martian atmosphere is 99 percent less dense than that of Earth, the drone had to be adapted with a super-light construction and rotors that are bigger and spin faster.
The Mars helicopter was named by high school student Vaneeza Rupani of Northport, Alabama.