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Mars mission: NASA's Perseverance Rover will play a big part in humanity's arrival on the Red Planet
Now that humans have been able to set foot on the Moon, NASA and other space agencies have now set its sights on the Red Planet itself. Today marks the launch of the agency’s Perseverance Rover, and scientists have said that this Mars rover will play a big part in the future Mars missions.
The Mars 2020 mission, also known as the launching of NASA’s Perseverance Rover onto the surface of the Red Planet will be taking place today. Its main mission upon reaching the destination is to search for possible signs of life, and according to scientists, the Rover will also help lay the groundwork for astronauts to be able to set foot on the surface.
As to how Perseverance will help pave the way for astronauts in the future Mars missions, it is because it will test a process that will create oxygen from carbon dioxide. Mars’ atmosphere is found to have a lot of carbon dioxide, and the rover will make use of the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment or MOXIE for short. This experiment is to find out how astronauts can produce oxygen from the Martian atmosphere to be able to breathe and as a propellant.
This will play a very vital role in human exploration on Mars. According to Purdue University Planetary Science Associate Professor Briony Hogan and Western Washington University Planetary Science Associate Professor Melissa Rice in a piece they wrote for The Conversation, “Perseverance will help prepare for future human missions to Mars. One of the many challenges for astronauts will be the packing list for a two-year roundtrip journey, which includes air, water, and rocket fuel to get home. If these resources could be harvested on Mars, human missions could become more feasible.”
For those who want to witness NASA launch the Perseverance Rover today, July 30, the launch window for the rover will be at 7:50 a.m. EDT or 4:50 a.m. PDT. The window will be between 30 minutes to two hours, with an opportunity to launch every five minutes. The rover will be on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket. Perseverance is expected to arrive on the Red Planet by February 2021.
Space enthusiasts can view the launch on NASA TV, and will also be streamed on Youtube.