NASA on Monday gave all the clearence to its Next Mission to Mars, rover Perseverance to launch later this week on a mission to seek out signs of ancient microbial life on red planet.
“The launch readiness review is complete, and we are indeed go for launch,” director Jim Bridenstine said.
The launch time decided is at 7:50 am (1150 GMT) on Thursday from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on board a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
You can see the live coverage of launch on YouTube and across several other social media platforms.
The rover Perseverance is set to land at Jezero Crater on 18 February 2021 after a journey of seven months.
Specifications of the NASA’S latest mars robot
The six-wheeled robot, which is about the size of an SUV and weighs 2,300 pounds (1,040 kilograms), is NASA’s fifth Mars rover and its most advanced to date.
It comes equipped with a small helicopter called Ingenuity that will attempt to fly – a first on another planet – as well as a robotic arm, and an array of cameras and a pair of microphones.
To look for evidence of ancient fossilized bacteria, it will use two lasers and an X-ray capable of chemical analysis.
It will also gather rock and soil samples for a future mission that will bring them back to Earth for further study.
Perseverance will build on previous orbital and landed missions, which established that the dry, cold Mars we see today was much warmer and wetter billions of years ago. These environments lasted long enough to possibly support the development of microbial life.
- Earlier this month The United Arab Emirates launched an orbital probe from Japan called “Al-Amal” (Hope), the Arab world’s first mission to Mars.
- Next China launched a rover to Mars last week named Tianwen-1 (“Questions to Heaven”).
- With Thursday’s launch, the United States will become the third nation to embark on a mission to the Red Planet this month.