Look out, Mars: US to send sample-collecting rover

Look out, Mars: US to send sample-collecting rover

A timeline of launch dayOn this artist's idea, a two-stage United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch automobile speeds the Mars 2020 spacecraft towards the Crimson Planet. This information will be used to help us define the best spots to collect rock samples for future return to Earth.

NASA's Perseverance rover headed for Mars this week officially cleared all required Flight Readiness Reviews, pushing the mission one step closer to its launch pad rollout and liftoff. The Perseverance rover will comply with within the footsteps of Curiosity and different rovers in venturing past Earth, and touring alongside it's the Ingenuity helicopter, which would be the first heavier-than-air automobile to fly on one other planet.

While the collection process will be exciting, Czaja is really looking forward to actually studying the samples when they return to earth in about 2030.

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Protection begins on Thursday, July 30 at four a.m. PT / 7 a.m. ET, with the launch itself scheduled for four:50 a.m. PT / 7:50 a.m. ET. Dr. Keyron Hickman-Lewis, who is preparing to join the Natural History Museum, will be studying the environments reflected by sedimentary rocks exposed in Jezero Crater and the potential for signatures of ancient microbial life preserved within.

Perseverance will be carrying some of the most sophisticated cameras, microphones, and tools ever delivered to the Red Planet to seek out signs of organic life inside the remains of a billion-year-old Martian delta and lake.

If there was life on Mars, then that opens up the whole possibility for planets and other solar systems. The samples will shed light on Mars' history and whether it has ever supported microbial lifeforms. This "fetch rover" will travel across the surface picking up the sample canisters left behind by Perseverance. When the rover reaches a suitable location the tubes will dropped on the surface of Mars to be collected by a future retrieval mission, which is now being developed. A successful test of the helicopter could lead to more flying probes on other planets. If not, the mission will have to wait 26 months until the Earth and Mars are aligned again as they are supposed to be for this mission. It will generate oxygen from the atmosphere of Mars.

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