Space enthusiasts, listen up! American space agency NASA is all set to launch its newest Mars 2020 rover, Perseverance and ready to head for the Red Planet in just a few hours along with a robotic helicopter named Ingenuity. Also Read - Countdown to Mars: Excitement Brewing As NASA Set To Launch New Perseverance Rover To the Red Planet Today
As per NASA, the launch is targeted for 7:50 a.m. EDT Thursday, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. In India, the liftoff can be watched live at 5:20 pm.
Perseverance is designed to search for astrobiological evidence of ancient microbial life on Mars. Its job is also to seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for a possible return to Earth. Further, it will demonstrate technology for future robotic and human exploration.
The launch will, however, depend on weather and technical factors as it was previously delayed from earlier in the month because of technical issues. However, according to CNET, current weather conditions are extremely favourable for launch, with an 80% chance of getting off the pad and into space.
If the launch goes as planned, NASA’s Perseverance will land on Mars on February 18, 2021.
Where to watch the historic launch?
The live streaming of the event will begin at 4.30 pm IST (7.00 am EDT).
Live coverage and countdown commentary will begin at 5:20 pm on NASA Television and the agency’s website, as well as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Daily Motion, and Theta.TV.
You can watch it here:
“Perseverance will bring all human senses to Mars. It will sense the air around it, see and scan the horizon, hear the planet with microphones on the surface for the first time, feel it as it picks up samples to cache, perhaps even taste, it in a sense, as it performs chemical analyses of the dust,” said NASA’s Thomas Zurbuchen during a press conference on July 20.
As per reports, the Mars Perseverance Rover is 10 feet long and weighs about 1,025 kilograms with a speed of about 0.1-miles per hour.