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The Perseverance is on its way to Mars. The Rover was launched on 30 July, from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
The Perseverance Rover with its complex electronic systems including sensing, measurement, data processing, mobility control and communication was launched on an Atlas V-541 rocket from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The Atlas V is one of the largest rockets available for interplanetary flight. This is the same type of rocket that launched the InSight and Curiosity to Mars.
Exhaustive testing of all the systems on the Atlas V launch vehicle and the Rover were completed prior to the launch by the Launch Operations (ATLO) team. Testing includes the checking out every one of the multitude of systems and subsystems on-board the rover, aeroshell, cruise stage and descent stage.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine explained, “Our deepest thanks go to the many teams who have worked so hard to get Perseverance ready to fly during these challenging times.”
“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.”
Lori Glaze, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, added, “NASA can’t wait to take the next steps on the surface of Mars with Perseverance.”
“The science and technology of this mission are going to help us address major questions about the geologic and astrobiologic history of Mars that we’ve been working on for decades, and we’re excited to take the whole world with us on this journey.”
The Perseverance rover’s astrobiology mission will search for signs of ancient microbial life – it will also characterise the planet’s climate and geology, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first planetary mission to collect and cache selected samples of Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).
Subsequent missions, currently under consideration by NASA in co-operation with European Space Agency (ESA), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these cached samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.
The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is managed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, is building and will manage operations of Perseverance for NASA. The agency’s Launch Services Program, based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, is responsible for launch management.
The Mars 2020 mission with its Perseverance rover are part of America’s larger moon to Mars exploration approach that includes missions to the moon as a way to prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.
Charged with sending the first woman and next man to the moon by 2024, NASA will establish a sustained human presence on and around the moon by 2028 through NASA’s Artemis program.
By: Stephen Kuper
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