Explainer: NASA's 2020 Perseverance Rover
NASA successfully launched the 2020 Perseverance mission from Florida's Canaveral Air Force Station.
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA — NASA successfully launched the 2020 Perseverance mission from Florida's Canaveral Air Force Station at 7:50 a.m. on July 29. This spacecraft is carrying an orbiter, a rover and a drone helicopter.
According to NASA, the Perseverance mission will land on the red planet on February 18, 2021.
The spacecraft will deploy the Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity helicopter. The vehicles are to explore the Jezero Crater, which was once a lake bed on Mars.
The Perseverance rover's design is based on the Curiosity rover, which was launched in 2011.
The Perseverance includes a cross-country suspension system; a plutonium power source that charges the rover's batteries; a mast with cameras and sensors; an antenna that communicates directly with Earth; and a robotic arm.
The arm will use a drill to bore into the ground. The arm's X-ray and ultraviolet spectrometers will scan the soil for amino acids and fatty acids, which would imply the presence of lifeforms that may have existed on Mars.
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