NASA’s next Mars rover, Perseverance, a month away from launch
Though it may similar to Mars Curiosity that has been exploring the Red Planet since 2012, but Perseverance has more features like new science instruments, upgraded cameras, improved onboard computers and new landing technologies that will help it accomplish the goals planned for the mission.Updated: Jun 21, 2020 15:43 IST
NASA’s next Mars rover is just one month away from its launch.
Till date, the American space agency has sent eight spacecraft to the Red Planet. The ninth, named Perseverance, will be the first that will gather Mars samples for future return to Earth.
Depending on weather conditions, the car-size robot is scheduled to lift off on July 20 atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. If it doesn’t lift off on July 20, the launch window runs through till August 11.
Though it may similar to Mars Curiosity that has been exploring the Red Planet since 2012, but Perseverance has more features like new science instruments, upgraded cameras, improved onboard computers and new landing technologies that will help it accomplish the goals planned for the mission.
“Perseverance is the most sophisticated mission we’ve ever sent to the Red Planet’s surface,” said Lori Glaze, the director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, according to a report in space dot com.
The rover’s astrobiology mission has four main goals including seeking signs of past microscopic life on Mars, according to a NASA release.
The first of the rover’s four science goals deals with studying the habitability of Mars. The mission is designed to look for environments that could have supported life in the past.
Perseverance’s second goal is closely linked with its first: The rover will seek out evidence that microbial life once existed on Mars in the past. In doing so, the mission could make progress in understanding the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the universe.
The rover’s third science goal is to gather samples of Martian rocks and soil. It will leave the samples on Mars, where future missions could collect them and bring them back to Earth for further study.
Like the robotic spacecraft that landed on the Moon to prepare for the Apollo astronauts, the Perseverance rover’s fourth science goal will help pave the way for humans to eventually visit Mars.
NASA’s Mars 2020 mission is part of its larger programme that includes missions to the Moon as a way to prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.