And...it's off! NASA's next mission to Mars was a "go" Thursday morning at 7:50 AM ET from Cape Canaveral, FL!
NASA RECAPS LAUNCH AND EXPLAINS NEXT MISSION TO MARS
The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket and Mars 2020 mission with the Perseverance rover sit on Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) at Cape Canaveral at sunset. Photo Credit: United Launch Alliance
SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE ATLAS V ROCKET AND PERSEVERANCE FROM THE LAUNCH PAD
"From this retired Navy pilot, to those who will fly Ingenuity
over the landscape of Mars, your flights and performance really will change the universe and we can’t wait to see what we learn from this." Tom Zelibor, CEO of the Space Foundation
The Perseverance Rover Mission was meticulously crafted over the last decade, named to encompass the "spirit of overcoming challenges."
"We are a species of explorers, and we will meet many setbacks on the way to Mars," said Alex Mather, a student at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia who wrote an essay in the contest to 'Name the Rover.'
"Perseverance means that in the inevitable setbacks that we’re going to face on the way to Mars, humans won’t give up."
The goals during the mission include searching for possible signs of life as well as learning more about the planet's history, climate, geology, and weather.
It's taken years to craft the weather observation system that will be aboard this mission, and I spoke with Dr. Leslie Tamppari, Deputy Project Scientist, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to learn more about it!
Seven Things to Know About the Mars 2020 Perseverance Mission
“55 years ago we got a quick image as the spacecraft rushed by, now we can contemplate evaluating samples, and collecting them and bringing them back to Earth," said Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's Associate Administrator.
"Personally, having worked on Mars Curiosity, I think the most fantastic thing about these missions is that every day, you drive a few hundred meters, you look around, and you see something fascinating," said Michael Watkins, director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Perseverance is one of several upcoming missions. NASA's Artemis progam
is set to take the next man and the first woman to the Moon by 2024. The two programs will look into the challenges of and help us prepare for the next giant leap, human exploration of the Red Planet, taking our curiosity further into space than ever before.
“We are building what is necessary to make more discoveries, learn more about our solar system, learn more about our own galaxy and universe than we’ve ever been able to learn before," said James Bridenstine, NASA's Administrator. "This mission is yet another example of that history in the making."