FP TrendingMay 12, 2020 15:29:48 IST
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is gearing up for the launch of the Perseverance rover mission. It has started putting the Mars-bound rover and other components into the configuration they will ride on top of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
The Perseverance rover mission is aimed at searching for signs of ancient microbial life. It is “part of a larger program that includes missions to the Moon as a way to prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.”
The process of placing components into launch configuration is called vehicle stacking and it is taking place at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It began on 23 April with the integration of the rover and its rocket-powered descent stage.
"Attaching the rover to the descent stage is a major milestone for the team because these are the first spacecraft components to come together for launch, and they will be the last to separate when we reach Mars," said David Gruel, launch operations manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.
The launch window for the mission is between 17 July and 5 August. The mission duration will be around 687 Earth days. “No matter what day Perseverance launches, it will land at Mars' Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021,” the space agency said.
NASA has fitted the most advanced pair of “eyes” on the Perseverance rover, to thoroughly study Mars. It has equipped the rover with Mastcam-Z, which will help the mission make 3D imagery more easily.
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