Perseverance rover is about to be launched to the Mars
If, due to the weather conditions or technical problems at that time, it does not succeed immediately, there is a two-hour launch window within which the powerful Atlas V rocket can take off with the robotic car. If that does not work, there will be a new attempt every day until 15 August.
It may well work right away, because there is an 80% chance of good weather. The unmanned NASA rover then has a six-month journey ahead of it and is due to land in the crater Jezero on February 18 next year in search of soil samples to return to Earth.
Over 11 minutes after launch from Cape Canaveral Airforce Station in Florida, the upper part of the rocket with the rover enters orbit. When the rocket is over South Africa, the engine of the upper rocket staircase is re-activated to give the spacecraft enough speed to escape gravity.
After about an hour after the launch, the spacecraft with the rover comes off the Centaur rocket to begin its months of journey. On arrival at Mars, the flight control nerve-racking landing will follow. For seven minutes there is no radio contact-the infamous seven minutes of terror. Eventually, Perseverance is hoisted to the surface of the Mars by a flying crane. On the landing of Perseverance’s predecessor, the rover Curiosity, it went off without a hitch.
After a successful landing, Perseverance will examine the bottom of the 45-mile-wide crater Jezero and collect soil samples in the coming years. In the crater there was once a lake and a river delta. According to researchers, it was one of the most ‘habitable’ places on the planet for possible microscopic life.