NASA is launching a new rover to Mars on a seven-month journey, and you can watch it happen. The mission of the rover, Perseverance, is to search for signs of ancient life on the red planet, as well as collect rock and soils samples to bring back to Earth.
The Mars 2020 launch is scheduled to happen on Thursday, July 30th, with a window extending to August 15th in case there are any problems or the conditions aren't right.
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Launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, Perseverance should land on February 18th, 2021 on the 28-mile-wide Jezero Crater if everything goes according to plan. Once there, the rover will collect data for one Mars year, which is about 687 Earth days.
"Between 3 billion and 4 billion years ago, a river there flowed into a body of water the size of Lake Tahoe, depositing sediments packed with carbonite minerals and clay," NASA explained in a press release. "The Perseverance science team believes this ancient river delta could have collected and preserved organic molecules and other potential signs of microbial life."
Here's how to watch the launch
NASA TV - Tune in for live shots and official commentary.
NASA's YouTube page - A live stream of the events.
Twitter - Follow the hashtag #CountdownToMars and set a reminder to watch starting at 7 a.m. ET on Thursday.