NASA sets Mars 2020 launch for this Thursday, details and video here

NASA sets Mars 2020 launch for this Thursday, details and video here

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine addresses the media ahead of Thursday's Mars 2020 launch, speaking in front of the iconic mission clock at NASA's Kennedy Space Center press site. The duration of the daily launch window varies from day to day.

The $2.7 billion rover, built and managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena California, incorporates many science experiments in its multi-year mission, featuring 10 different instruments.

The Denver-based rocket maker and its heritage companies have launched all of NASA's Mars missions, beginning with the Mariners in 1964.

Live coverage and countdown commentary will begin at 5:20 pm on NASA Television and the agency's website, as well as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Daily Motion, and Theta.TV. "In fact, it's the first time in history we've done a return mission from any planet".

NASA scientists say the Perseverance Mars rover is the agency's most advanced craft to explore the planet.

NASA's Perseverance rover is the first mission designed explicitly to search for signs of life, past and present. Three Mars mission in July 2020The other two Mars probe this month were launched by the United Arab Emirates (The Hope Probe) and China (Tianwen-1) separately in displays of their own technological prowess and ambition.

However, should unexpected delays force NASA to scrub the launch entirely, the United States space agency will have to wait until 2022 for another launch opportunity.

Iran blasts dummy U.S. aircraft carrier in Hormuz drill
While Iran's naval forces are dwarfed by the US Navy, its commanders practise swarm tactics aimed at overwhelming US carriers. It remains unclear when or if the Nimitz will pass through the Strait of Hormuz or not during its time in the Mideast.

But NASA officials are confident today's launch will go unhindered.

"There is an attached little helicopter that is going to fly like a drone over the Martian surface and give us images", Logsdon told ABC News.

"And I think the events and the milestones of the next couple of days are really going to demonstrate that".

"We don't know if life existed there or not".

Scientists believe Mars once resembled a young Earth, with a hot and humid atmosphere and large bodies of water. Sending stuff to Mars is ideal right now, as this special orbital orientation offers a relatively quick journey to the Red Planet. That conceptual rover is expected to launch the samples back into space to link up with other spacecraft for an eventual Earth homecoming around 2031.

Perhaps the most unique and poignant addition to the rover is a small plaque added by the team at JPL, a tribute to the world's first responders in face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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