NASA will today launch their first Mars rover in nine years. This will help in embarking on its journey to the red planet, where it will look for prehistoric life. NASA has started a dramatic countdown across its social media accounts in preparation for the launch. The information below is on what, when, where and how to watch the blastoff from Earth.
WHAT IS PERSEVERANCE?
When it completes its long space journey, Perseverance will be the fifth NASA rover to be sent to Mars. It will join its sibling, the Curiosity rover, launched in February 2021. Since 2012, the Curiosity has been on Mars. Since the Opportunity rover stopped responding in 2018 following a massive dust storm, this has been the sole occupant of the planet.
Perseverance will be included in some of the innovative discoveries of Curiosity.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine while speaking on Wednesday from outside the Kennedy Space Centre, said that because of Curiosity’s work, they knew that Mars once had water and was capable of supporting life. He also indicated that they do not understand whether “it was inhabited, but it was habitable.” He also said that was the first time in history where they were going to Mars with an explicit mission to find life on another world. The mission of Perseverance is one of astrobiology, searching for signs of life.
According to the NASA website, the rover will be on Mars for at least one Mars year. This amounts to around 687 Earth days or about two Earth years. Bridenstine added that folks should watch from homes as the spacecraft is launched and it will be an inspirational moment.
WHERE AND WHEN
Assuming the weather holds, it will be launched about 7:50 a.m. EDT on July 30 and the rover will lift off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron is predicting an 80 per cent chance of favourable weather for the liftoff according to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center blog. The same type of rocket that took Curiosity up into space in 2011, an Atlas V-541 rocket, will be blasted off by the Perseverance.
HOW TO WATCH
Anyone around the world can tune in the launch, which will be in Florida. They will be live streaming the liftoff through NASA’s website, together with NASA’s youtube account. Watched online, is the NASA TV will also be covering the blasting off. The launch will be occurring just under an hour later after the Live coverage will begin at 7 a.m. EDT. Post-launch coverage will continue until 11:30 a.m. EDT. Get a full list of the day’s events and live streams to watch here NASA’s website.