How Northeast Ohio is involved in NASA's Mars Perseverance launch

Sunday, 02 Aug, 2020

The total name reservations received by NASA have reached 2,223,364.

Perseverance has been created to operate for one Mars year, which is a little under two Earth years, but some rovers have historically been known to remain active much longer than their expected duration, and the team hopes Perseverance will do the same.

The joint mission aboard United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket launched from Florida's Cape Canaveral without issues: "It went right on time - it is on a trajectory that has been done with pinpoint accuracy", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine at the opening of the post-launch panel shared on YouTube. It is expected to arrive in February 2021.

This time around the latest rover, dubbed the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover by NASA, will use the same landing method as the Curiosity rover in 2012.

He said: "This fantastic opportunity brings some of the finest minds in the world together to solve one of the biggest questions in the Solar System: 'was there life on Mars?'" During that time it will also collect rock and soil samples for a possible return to Earth.

ULA and its heritage rockets have launched every USA led mission to Mars, beginning in the 1960s. The Mars Sample Return, a collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency, is created to seal rock cores in containers to be collected by future missions and flown back to Earth, where generations of future scientists can analyze them.

Perseverance also ferries a 1.8-kg helicopter to the surface of Mars, and the helicopter would be the first aircraft to fly in a controlled way on another planet. However, we can persevere. In addition to three national security and two weather satellites, an Atlas V 541 rocket launched NASA's Curiosity rover on its 10-month, 354 million-mile journey to the surface of Mars.

"We're providing engineering technical integration and mission integration coordination services as an integral part of the Mars 2020 Mission Integration Team and Atlas V launch vehicle team", said Kathleen Wilcox, ELVIS 3 program manager.

The Perseverance rover's astrobiology mission is to seek out signs of past microscopic life on Mars, explore the diverse geology of its landing site, Jezero Crater, and demonstrate key technologies that will help us prepare for future robotic and human exploration.

Perseverance will also carry spacesuit materials to Mars. Meenakshi Wadhwa, director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration, explained during a webinar before the launch that samples have never before been collected from the planet.

It can not yet be said that the launch has been successful.

About an hour into the flight, controllers applauded, pumped their fists, exchanged air hugs and pantomimed high-fives when the rocket left Earth's orbit and began hurtling toward Mars. If you missed the launch-or just want to launch it again-it's available on NASA's YouTube channel.

Aboard Perseverance is a four-pound (1.8 kg) autonomous helicopter named Ingenuity due to test powered flight on Mars.

The journey to Mars will take seven months. If it works, future Mars-bound astronauts could use a larger version of MOXIE to generate the oxygen they need to refuel for the trip back to Earth.