NASA’s Perseverance Rover Set to Launch to Mars This Week – How to Watch it Lifting Off

NASA is set to launch the Mars Perseverance rover this week for an epic journey to the Red Planet with the aim to explore and search for signs of life, either past and present.

The rover is scheduled to launch this Thursday, July 30th, from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force. The Mars 2020 mission was initially planned for a July 17th lift-off but encountered a series of delays in the last few weeks. Perseverance is now all set, waiting for its first launch window to open.

The Launch is Approaching

The daily launch window will open on Thursday at 12.50 p.m. BST (7.50 a.m. EDT, 4.50 a.m. PDT). It will be open between 30 minutes and two hours, with an amazing launch opportunity every five minutes; NASA will have to perform the lift-off of the Mars Perseverance​ rover between July 30th and August 15th.

After that, the space agency will not have any possibility to launch the vehicle until 2022. However, if the rover launches this week as planned, NASA expects it to land in Mars’ Jezero crater on February 18th, 2021.

Perseverance Rover. [Image: NASA]
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 pre-launch 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​ rover will be carried by a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.

How to Watch the Launch of Perseverance

NASA’s lift-off activities will be broadcast live online, with the coverage beginning at 12.00 p.m. BST (7.00 a.m. EDT, 4.00 a.m. PDT) on NASA TV. This channel is the space agency’s round-the-clock public broadcasting available online and on some TV channels in the United States as well.

The broadcast will be shared on NASA’s website, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Theta TV, DailyMotion, and Twitch.

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 Not the Only Vehicle Flying to Mars

Perseverance​ is NASA’s most recent Mars rover created to search for evidence of extraterrestrial life on the Red Planet. The vehicle is set to collect and analyze soil samples, storing them in specially-made containers for a future return to Earth. Perseverance​ rover will also examine the planet’s climate and geology to pave the way for future manned missions.

Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. [Image: NASA/JPL/Caltech]
Besides Perseverance​, NASA is planning to launch the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, which is the first attempt at powered flight on an alien planet

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 about 99 percent less dense than that of Earth, the drone had to be designed with a super-light construction and rotors that are more massive and spin faster. 

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