Preview of the 2020 Mars rover Perseverance launch

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Gayle Anderson was live outside the California Science Center, which has been hosting several virtual events to preview tomorrow morning’s launch (Launch window: July 30th – August 15, 2020 in case there are weather or technical problems.) of the Mars Rover Perseverance that will seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for possible return to Earth.

In addition to explaining the launch mission, the California Science Center’s STUCK AT HOME SCIENCE online science lessons teach children and families how to be a NASA geologist just like the NASA folks working on this project.

The Mars Perseverance rover mission is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the Red Planet. The Mars Perseverance mission addresses high-priority science goals for Mars exploration, including key questions about the potential for life on Mars. The mission takes the next step by not only seeking signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past, but also searching for signs of past microbial life itself. The Mars Perseverance rover introduces a drill that can collect core samples of the most promising rocks and soils and set them aside in a “cache” on the surface of Mars. The mission also provides opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars. These include testing a method for producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, identifying other resources (such as subsurface water), improving landing techniques, and characterizing weather, dust, and other potential environmental conditions that could affect future astronauts living and working on Mars.

***The mission is timed for a launch opportunity tomorrow morning when Earth and Mars are in good positions relative to each other for landing on Mars. That is, it takes less power to travel to Mars at this time, compared to other times when Earth and Mars are in different positions in their orbits. To keep mission costs and risks as low as possible, the Mars 2020 design is based on NASA’s successful Mars Science Laboratory mission architecture, including its Curiosity rover and proven landing system.***

2020 Mars Mission Perseverance Rover
Launch: July 30 at 4:50 a.m. PDT (7:50 a.m. EDT)
Launch Period: July 30 – Aug. 15, 2020
Landing: February 18, 2021
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V-541

The California Science Center teaches children and parents about the Mars Rover Mission on its special STUCK ON AT HOME SCIENCE website page.

Learn about how NASA engineers plan and produce the complicated Mars Rover mission from Rich Rieber, the Mobility Systems Engineer for Mars 2020 and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Dr. Sarah Milkovich, a member of the Perseverance Rover team. Both experts provide STUCK AT HOME SCIENCE projects that are easy and free! See and learn from them on their website.

Also, NASA and SpaceX are preparing for this weekend’s return of NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley from the International Space Station.  

The duo arrived at the orbiting laboratory on May 31st, following a successful and historic launch on May 30th on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting 7:34 p.m. EDT Saturday, August 1st, for undocking of the Dragon “Endeavour” spacecraft from the space station and 2:42 p.m. Sunday, August 2nd, for splashdown, which will be the first return of a commercially built and operated American spacecraft carrying astronauts from the space station.

Coverage on NASA TV and the agency’s website, will begin at 9:10 a.m., August 1st, with a short farewell ceremony on station and resume at 5:15 p.m., with departure preparations through splashdown and recovery at one of seven targeted water landing zones in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. You can watch this historic event on

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Gayle Anderson at 323-460-5732 or email at

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