NASA’s Perseverance rover begins a 7-month flight to Mars.
As scheduled, at ten minutes to two – Spanish time – this Thursday afternoon, the Perseverance rover of the Mars mission took off from Mars from Space Launch Complex 41, at the Cape Canavera Air Force Station. 2020 with the Ingenuity helicopter aboard an Atlas V 541 rocket from the United Launch Alliance (ULA).
The Mars Perseverance rover mission is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term robotic exploration effort for the Red Planet. Perseverance’s Martian mission addresses high-priority scientific objectives for the exploration of Mars, including key questions about the potential for life on Mars.
The Perseverance rover is scheduled to land on February 18, 2021 in Jezero Crater, a former river and lake delta, and will aim to search for rocks that contain possible signs of ancient microbial life. The rover is expected to collect rock samples, which will be brought to Earth for analysis in about a decade.
The mission takes the next step not only looking for signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past, but also looking for signs of past microbial life. The Mars Perseverance rover will be able to collect core samples from the most promising rocks and soils and set them aside on the surface of Mars. The mission also provides opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars.
The mission was scheduled for launch starting this Thursday, July 30, 2020, when Earth and Mars are in good positions with each other to land on Mars. That is, when less energy is needed to travel to the Red Paneta, compared to other times when Earth and Mars are in different positions in their orbits.
To keep the costs and risks of the mission as low as possible, the design of Mars 2020 builds on NASA’s successful Mars Science Laboratory mission architecture, including its Curiosity rover and proven landing system.
The rover perseverance transports a separate technology experiment to the surface of Mars, a helicopter called Ingenuity, the first aircraft to fly in a controlled manner on another planet. It also has seven scientific instruments to carry out detailed analyzes of Martian rocks, several of them developed in Spain.