NASA’s next rover, Perseverance, on board the Mars 2020 spacecraft is set to lift off July 30 at 9:50 pm AEST (1150 GMT) on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The launch window opens at 9:50 pm AEST according to NASA.

The Atlas V is one of the largest rockets available for interplanetary flight. This is the same type of rocket that launched the InSight and Curiosity to Mars. The launch vehicle is provided by United Launch Alliance, Centennial Colorado.

Pre-launch coverage will begin at 7:50pm local AEST. The launch window will stay open until about 11:50Pm AEST, with opportunities to launch every five minutes in that two-hour timeframe.

If all goes according to plan, the 1,043 kilogram rover is scheduled to arrive at the Jezero crater on Feb 18, 2021.

The Mars Perseverance rover will explore the planet for ancient habitable environments and signs of fossilized microbial life at Mars’ Jezero crater, which was once a lake.

The rover will also carry the first helicopter to ever attempt controlled flight on another planet, the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. Weighing in at only 1.8 kg, the little helicopter will have to lift off in Mars’ thin atmosphere, a feat that will require its four carbon-fiber blades to spin at a whopping 2,400 rpm.

The launch period is approximately three weeks, from July 30 to August 15. The duration of the daily launch window varies from day to day. The launch windows will last approximately two hours, with a unique launch opportunity every five minutes. if they miss these dates thy will have to wait another 2 years.

Both UAE and China have launched their Mars missions last week.

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