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. Water is considered a key ingredient for life, and Mars billions of years ago had lots of it on the surface before the planet became a harsh and desolate outpost.
It soared into the sky under clear, sunny and warm conditions carried by an Atlas 5 rocket from the Boeing-Lockheed joint venture United Launch Alliance.
The month's third and final mission to Mars, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) fifth Mars mission, the Perseverance rover, is all set to launch today, 30 July 2020. This wonderful explorer's journey has already required the very best from all of us to get it to launch through these challenging times.
With one carefully chosen sample from Mars, we could discover that the history of life on the Earth is not unique in the Universe.
"There's a reason we call the robot Perseverance". NASA stated in a press release that this had occurred during its time in Earth's shadow, and that the spacecraft has since been within allowable temperature ranges.
"That's perfectly fine, the spacecraft is happy there", he said. However, telemetry (more detailed spacecraft data) had not yet been acquired at that point. Early on in its flight, the spacecraft entered a "safe mode" due to lower than allowable temperatures.
As Xinhua explains, the photo was taken on July 27 and the spacecraft was sailing at a distance of around 1.2 million km from Earth. The spacecraft will remain in safe mode until it receives new commands from mission control. An interplanetary launch is fast-paced and dynamic, so a spacecraft is created to put itself in safe mode if its onboard computer perceives conditions are not within its preset parameters. As of writing, NASA is working to perform full health assessments on the spacecraft and is working to return it to a nominal configuration. The rocket scheduled to launch at 7:50 a.m. ET Thursday will land on Mars in February 2021 and the Mars 2020 rover, named Perseverance, will study Martian geology.
Perseverance's onboard instruments will drill seven centimetres down to collect scientifically compelling samples, before placing them in titanium tubes for protection. Two future missions now under consideration by NASA, in collaboration with ESA (European Space Agency), will work together to get the samples to an orbiter for return to Earth.
One piece of technology on board will perform a "proof-of-concept experiment" that will use carbon dioxide from Mars' atmosphere to produce oxygen. Engineers hope to perform several flights of Ingenuity over 30 days to test its performance. And the rover isn't travelling alone-Perseverance is carrying a four-pound helicopter attached to its belly.
The liftoff of Perseverance is the third Mars exploration of the global community this year following China's first Mars mission, Tianwen-1, and the first Mars orbiter of the United Arab Emirates earlier this month.
The Perseverance rover, which was developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is an improved version of Curiosity, a rover which has covered 23 kilometres of the Red Planet since it landed in 2012.
Scientists solve mystery of Stonehenge megaliths origin
An open question remains about the two stones not sourced from West Woods, the origin of which could not be determined. It has helped solve the question of where the enormous stones of the world-famous monument are from.