Perseverance Rover Successfully Installed On Atlas V Rocket
NASA specialists installed the Perseverance Rover on the Atlas V launch vehicle and prepared it for launch, which should take place at the end of July, according to the press service of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
"The launch of Perseverance was postponed until the end of the month due to problems that occurred during the preparation of the launch vehicle for docking with the capsule where the Rover is located. Because of this, we moved the launch window to the period between July 30 and August 15, which is acceptable in terms of the available fuel reserves on Board the mission," JPL writes.
As noted by NASA, the last pre-flight tests of the Rover and the launch vehicle will begin in the coming days. Experts plan that on July 28, the rocket will be brought to the launchpad for the first launch attempt, which is scheduled for July 30.
Initially, JPL specialists planned to send the Rover to the Red Planet on July 17. But the start date was moved-first to July 20 and 22, and then to July 30. At the same time, NASA does not exclude that the device can go to space later, if the weather or technical problems prevent it on July 30.
If the Rover is not put into space by August 15, the mission will have to be postponed for two years, since the Earth and Mars approach at a minimum distance of about 56 million km once every 26 months. Similar cases have already occurred in the recent history of NASA - the landing platform InSight, which studies radio quakes, was sent to the Red planet two years later than planned due to the depressurization of its seismograph.
To Mars with a helicopter
NASA representatives announced plans to create their fifth Rover in December 2012. It was supposed to be a kind of successor to the Curiosity Rover, which landed on Mars in August 2012 and is still working there; this would significantly reduce the cost and speed up the Assembly of the Rover. The main task of the Rover was not to search for traces of freshwater reservoirs, as in its predecessor, but to assess the habitability of Mars in the past and search for possible traces of life.
In March 2020, the Rover was officially named "perseverance." It was planned to launch to Mars in mid-summer 2020. The spacecraft will land in the area of the Yezero crater on the equator of Mars in February 2021.
Perseverance will not only study the properties of sedimentary rock deposits but also collect their samples in a special "Cabinet" installed on its Board. The Ingenuity helicopter will help him in this. However, its main task will be to show that flights on the surface of Mars are possible in principle. The minerals that the Rover will collect will be returned to Earth by a special joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA, which will fly to the red planet no earlier than 2026.