NASA’s Perseverance rover bound for Mars to seek ancient life

Mars 2020 Perseverance Launch Panorama

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Flight controllers for NASAs Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission have returned the spacecraft to nominal flight operations, the USA space agency has said.

As scheduled, a ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida yesterday morning.

NASA says it has a handle on the problem, and mission controllers are now performing the requisite steps to transition the spacecraft back into normal cruise mode.

The "Send Your Name to Mars" program of NASA allows individuals around the globe to "fly" their names in its future missions to the Red Planet.

NASA's Perseverance rover is on its way to Mars and on February 18, 2021, it is scheduled to land on the red planet's Jezero Crater.

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The second issue that triggered the "safe mode" involved the temperature of the courier spacecraft - also known as the cruise stage - as it orbited the Earth.

NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission, which is on its way to the Red Planet to search for signs of ancient life and collect samples to send back to Earth, is healthy and on its way after experiencing some technical difficulties, the United States space agency said. The spacecraft was apparently too close to NASA's Deep Space Network - a system of ground-based antennas created to communicate to deep space - causing a signal saturation at the ground receivers, which prevented proper receipt of the telemetry data, according to NASA.

"Jezero Crater is the ideal place to search for signs of ancient life", said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in a press release. "Scientists have wanted a sample of Mars to study for generations". And given the difficulty of this multi-pronged return journey of the samples, they won't land on Earth until 2031, at the earliest. But if there was ever a team that could make it happen, it is this one. "Next stop, Jezero Crater".

The team, based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, has confirmed that the spacecraft is healthy and on its way to Mars.

JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and will manage operations of the Mars Perseverance rover.

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