ULA's Atlas V Rocket Launches NASA's Perseverance Rover for Mars 2020 Mission

  • ULA's Atlas V Rocket Launches NASA's Perseverance Rover for Mars 2020 Mission

ULA's Atlas V Rocket Launches NASA's Perseverance Rover for Mars 2020 Mission

The latest Mars mission, the Perseverance Rover, was launched on July 30 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the U.S., with 10.9 million names aboard. The rover is officially on its way to Jezero Crater on Mars. Via NASA's Deep Space Network, the largest scientific telecommunications network in the world, the rover sent out a signal at 9:15 a.m. EST but NASA did not receive it until 11:30 a.m.

The mission team is now working to bring the spacecraft out of its standby mode, and NASA has stated that the rover is healthy and that it is now in communication with the robotic explorer.

Mars 2020, the spaceship carrying NASA's new rover Perseverance to the Red Planet, is experiencing technical difficulties and is running on essential systems only, the agency said Thursday.

"As the spacecraft entered into Earth's shadow, the Sun was temporarily blocked by Earth, and the outlet temperature dropped", said Wallace.

NASA says it has a handle on the problem, and mission controllers are now performing the requisite steps to transition the spacecraft back into normal cruise mode. "Perseverance is going to make discoveries that cause us to rethink our questions about what Mars was like and how we understand it today".

Aboard Perseverance is a four-pound (1.8 kg) autonomous helicopter named Ingenuity due to test powered flight on Mars. A NASA-provided payload on the orbiter would provide the capabilities needed to capture and contain the samples, placing them in an Earth entry vehicle that would land the samples safely on US soil.

While most of Perseverance's seven instruments are geared toward learning more about the planet's geology and astrobiology, the MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment) instrument's job is focused on missions yet to come.

Also attached to the spacecraft's belly is the Mars Ingenuity Helicopter, perhaps the first helicopter to fly on any planet other than the Earth. NASA's Launch Services Program, based at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is responsible for launch management, and ULA provided the Atlas V rocket.