Why NASA Is Delaying The Launch Of Mars Mission Rover, Perseverance
NASA is delaying the launch of it next Mars rover, called Perseverance, due to a problem with the rocket that is meant to launch it to the planet. The delay is by a week, which means that the rover can launch no earlier than 30th July 2020.
This is the third time the launch is being delayed. NASA had previously shifted the launch to 20th July 2020, then shifted it again to 22nd July 2020. Both delays had to do with issues surrounding the ground equipment that should support the launch. And with the new delay, the entire mission is in jeopardy.
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If NASA does not launch Perseverance this summer, it will have to wait until 2022 to try again. This is because NASA and other space agencies have a small window every two years to send spacecraft to Mars. The window is when the planet is closest to Earth on its orbit around the Sun. That window is usually from 17th July to 11th August.
The Perseverance’s rocket is an Atlas V rocket manufactured and operated by the United Launch Alliance. While running through all the procedures to practice for the actual launch on 22nd June 2020, testers noticed bad feedback from a line of sensors that monitors the levels of liquid oxygen propellant in the vehicle after filling it up with propellant. Now the team needs more time to figure out the problem and fix the issue.
The Perseverance’s mission is to look for signs of life that may have existed billions of years ago on Mars. It is also equipped with tools that can drill into the Martian soil and dig up samples which it will then leave on its surface. NASA plans a second mission in the future where it can pick up those samples and bring them to Earth. On Earth, the samples can then be studied by scientists in laboratory settings. NASA plans to launch the Perseverance to Mars from Canaveral, Florida.
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