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. . . .