NASA launches new Mars rover to to seek signs of past life on red planet
CA, 30 Jul 2020
NASA's next-generation Mars rover, Perseverance, blasted off from Florida's Cape Canaveral on Thursday atop an Atlas 5 rocket on a $2.4 billion mission to search for traces of potential past life on Earth's planetary neighbour, Mars.
The next-generation robotic rover - a car-sized, six-wheeled scientific vehicle - is also scheduled to deploy a mini helicopter on Mars and test out equipment for future human missions to the fourth planet from the sun. It is expected to reach Mars next February.
This marked NASA's ninth journey to the Martian surface.
Perseverance is due to land at the base of an 820-foot-deep (250 meters) crater called Jezero, a former lake from 3.5 billion years ago that scientists suspect could bear evidence of potential past microbial life on Mars.
Aboard Perseverance is a four-pound (1.8 kg) autonomous helicopter named Ingenuity that is due to test powered flight on Mars for the first time.
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