Mars Rover starts its mission today (launch 7:50 a.m. EDT); watch launch now

July 30, 2020 • 6:30 am

Reader Jon Mummaw alerted me, and I’m alerting you, that the new Mars rover is being launched today. In fact, in about 20 minutes from when this post goes up, the rocket will take off.  You can watch it live at the links below. Perseverance will not only collect soil samples from the bed of an ancient Martian lake, hoping to find evidence of any form of life (the samples will someday be returned to Earth, they say), but also has its own drone called Ingenuity.  CNN describes several of the technological features of the rover and drone. And below I’ve reproduced Jon’s words with links.

Perseverance, an updated version of the mars rover Curiosity, is scheduled for liftoff at 7:50 a.m. EDT on Thursday, July 30, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Perseverance will be launched atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. Live coverage begins on NASA TV at 7:00 a.m. EDT.  You can watch the launch live on NASA’s YouTube Channel or on NASA TV. Although the weather forecast looks favorable for a Thursday launch, the launch window runs from 30 July to 15 August 2020. If the 30 July launch is successful, Perseverance is scheduled to land at Jezero crater on 18 February 2021. Entry, decent and landing (EDL) will be similar to Curiosity’s harrowing Seven Minutes of Terror, although Perseverance is equipped with HD video cameras to record the landing. The HD video, however, will take weeks to transmit to earth.

The Perseverance rover has improved wheels, carries 23 cameras, two microphones and will seek signs of ancient life and collect rock, soil, and drill core samples for possible return to Earth during a later mission. Perseverance also carries an experimental autonomous helicopter called Ingenuity, which will be deployed to take close up photographs of the surrounding Martian landscape.

“The Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission’s disk-shaped cruise stage sits atop the bell-shaped back shell, which contains the powered descent stage and Perseverance rover. Below is the brass-colored heat shield that is about to be attached to the back shell.”

JAC: Here’s a photo of the rover. What an ingenioous species we are! Pity we keep hating and killing each other. . . .

11 thoughts on “Mars Rover starts its mission today (launch 7:50 a.m. EDT); watch launch now

  1. Thanks for the heads up this morning. Just watched launch through 60 miles altitude and solid rocket booster sep. Amazing acceleration straight up to mach 1 in 40 seconds.

  2. I still remember the cartoon about the previous Mars rover (Opportunity?) that was so sad they had to add some additional frames to give it a happy(ish) ending.

  3. Derek Mueller was the Man On The Proverbial Street – about 3 miles from the launch :

    … and chatted with .. a NASA scientist so far (haven’t finished yet)…

    7 months… about March it should have arrived…

  4. I heard an amazing singer recently which motivated me to listen to some other music.
    I was blown away.
    And I am technology buff. I love technology and am amazed by what we can do.

    Cogitating on these two things recently I thought of exactly the same lament as you, things are so amazing, why do we have to keep hating and killing each other?

    We have fantastic joy at our fingertips.

    Dimash Kudaibergen singing “SOS d’un terrien en détresse” if anyone is wondering.

  5. This Star Talk episode with host Neil DeGrasse Tyson features the chief scientist discussing the project :

    I really liked this discussion because the clarity of the chief scientist giving the essential most important features was excellent – really like talking to you neighbor, fresh, improvised, and right from the center of it all (hundreds of scientists are unfortunately difficult to give due credit). What is this doing, how, why. However, I’m a little saddened that his air time was interrupted a bit too much.

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