The Perseverance Rover will leave Cape Canaveral soon, marking the real start of a $2.7 billion mission, which also involves the first interplanetary aircraft, an array of advanced research instruments, and a drill that will be used for the extraction of core samples.
Perseverance is a central part of NASA’S ninth mission to Mars while also being the first one since the twin Viking Landers roamed the surface of the planet in more almost a few decades ago with the aim to track down traces of life.
A long journey
A launch event has been scheduled at Cape Canaveral on Thursday morning as a two-hour opportunity window will be available. The payload will be carried by a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 Rocket that will live the surface of our planet at 24,785 miles per hour or 11 kilometers per second.
While the coronavirus pandemic has slowed some of the activities, most of the preparations have been completed as the launch has to take place before the middle of August. If the launch doesn’t take place by then, another two years will have to pass before Earth and Mars have the desired positions again.
One of the main aims of the mission is to track down signs of life in the form of biosignatures that could have been left in Martian rocks by microbial life forms. A selection of rock samples will also be brought to Earth for analysis.
The rover is fitted with a variety of instruments that will be used for the selection of rocks, but they cannot be used to conduct live experiments on Mars. It is also thought that Perseverance may uncover signs that could tell more about the habitability of the planet in the past before it became the sterile landscape known today.