NASA launches Perseverance rover to Mars

July 30, 2020: US Space agency NASA has launched its Mars rover Perseverance on Thursday. The spacecraft carrying the rover and helicopter successfully launched to Mars at 7:50 a.m. ET.

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July 30, 2020: US Space agency NASA has launched its Mars rover Perseverance on Thursday. The spacecraft carrying the rover and helicopter successfully launched to Mars aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 7:50 a.m. ET.

"I'm exceptionally excited about what we're about to do because we're going to launch Mars 2020 with the Perseverance robot. But there is so much more going on here. This is the first time in history where we're going to Mars with an explicit mission to find life on another world -- ancient life on Mars," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine during a press briefing at Kennedy Space Center.

The rover will use a suite of new scientific instruments to explore Jezero Crater, the site of an ancient lake and river delta on Mars. The lake existed between 3.5 billion and 4 billion years ago when Mars was wetter, warmer and habitable.

Perseverance is carrying several cameras to record various views as the spacecraft zooms through the atmosphere en route to landing; and two microphones, which will be the first to record sounds on another planet.

Perseverance will land on Mars on Feb. 18 next year at 3:40 p.m. Eastern time.

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