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Mission To Mars: Successful Launch of Perseverance!

30 Jul 2020, 6:00 am

And…it’s off! NASA’s next mission to Mars was a “go” Thursday morning at 7:50 AM ET from Cape Canaveral, FL!


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


“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.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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.”


About the author
Meredith is a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist as designated by the American Meteorological Society.  She was born and raised in Cleveland but has worked from coast to coast covering almost every type of weather.  Meredith is a weather, space, and STEM journalist and has been live out in the field during destructive tropical storms on the Gulf Coast of Florida, raging wildfires in Southern Cali... Load Morefornia, and covered the wreckage from tornadoes in the Great Plains. In 2009, she reported on the damaging hail storm during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and in 2017, the historic California winter storms that produced record rain totals and devastating flash flooding.  Prior to joining WeatherNation, Meredith worked at KEYT/KKFX in Santa Barbara, CA, KOTA-TV in Rapid City, SD, WWSB-TV in Sarasota, FL, and began her career as an intern at WGN-TV in Chicago.  She was Santa Barbara's "Favorite Weathercaster of the Year" in 2016 and the Community Partner of the Year in 2017 for her volunteer work with Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties and awarded with the 2018 Valparaiso University Alumni Association First Decade Achievement Award. Meredith is the current chair of the American Meteorological Society's Station Scientist Committee, which focuses on raising greater awareness & outreach when it comes to science education for viewers.  She's also an accomplished journalist, producing weather and science stories including rocket launches at Vandenberg Air Force Base and the new GOES-16 satellite and it's impacts on weather forecasting.  Meredith was personally invited by NASA's Johnson Space Center to interview astronauts on the International Space Station and was the only meteorologist in the nation to do an exclusive report accompanying the GOES-West satellite from Colorado to Florida, reporting on and covering it's launch in 2018.  Meredith's also worked on features that took her paragliding along the coast, white water rafting in Northern California, learning to surf in the Pacific Ocean, and how to be an aerial photographer while flying a single engine plane! Say hi on Facebook, Twitter, & LinkedIn!

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