Seeing 2020: Watch NASA's Mars 2020 Rover being built in live, interactive broadcast

Viewers can ask questions of the engineers about the rover, mission during the 'Seeing 2020' broadcast.

For the love of space- and rover-enthusiasts everywhere, NASA has fitted webcams in its Jet Propulsion Lab facility so viewers can watch the making of the upcoming Mars 2020 rover as it happens. Viewers are also welcome to pose questions to the engineers and technicians as they assemble and test the next Mars rover from NASA.

"There is so much happening and changing in the clean room, I come here every opportunity I get," John McNamee, project manager of the Mars 2020 rover at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, CalTech (JPL), said in a release. "It is great that we can share this part of our journey to the Red Planet with the public anytime they want.”

Seeing 2020: Watch NASAs Mars 2020 Rover being built in live, interactive broadcast

The "Seeing 2020" live video feed allows the public to watch engineers and technicians assemble and test NASA's next Mars rover in a clean room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Credit: NASA/JPL-CalTech

The webcam giving a live video feed, coined 'Seeing 2020', is broadcasting from a viewing gallery in NASA's clean room at JPL in Pasadena, California.

Those who wish to interact with the engineers can participate in webchats with members of JPL's social media team and the Mars 2020 team as they answer questions about the rover and the mission. The stream is open to viewers Monday-Thursday at 11.30 am to 4.30 pm IST (2 pm to 7 pm EDT). Whenever a special activity is underway — like a test drive — a moderated chat with an engineer and the social media team will be carried out.

So far, the JPL team has put together the rover's back shell, descent- and cruise-stage and tested them as well. While that sounds like a chunk of the work done and dusted, there is still months of assembly and testing left before the Mars 2020 rover is shipped to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for launch preparations. The launch window for the rover opens on 17 July 2020, according to NASA.

If it launches as planned, the rover is estimated to arrive on Mars by 18 February 2021. Mars 2020 will look for ancient habitable conditions on the planet and microbial life. It will also collect rock and soil samples to study for biological signatures.

with inputs from PTI

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