Mars Perseverance Rover opens daily launch window on Thursday, July 30, at 7:50 a.m. EDT.

From NASA

July 22, 2020 RELEASE 20-075

NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover Passes Flight Readiness Review

Nose cone containing NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover
The nose cone containing NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover is maneuvered into place atop its Atlas V rocket. The image was taken at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on July 7, 2020.Credits: NASA/KSC

NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission cleared its Flight Readiness Review Wednesday, an important milestone on its way to the launch pad. The meeting was an opportunity for the Mars 2020 team and launch vehicle provider United Launch Alliance to report on the readiness of the spacecraft, along with the Atlas V rocket, flight and ground hardware, software, personnel, and procedures. The daily launch window on Thursday, July 30, opens at 7:50 a.m. EDT.

“Our deepest thanks go to the many teams who have worked so hard to get Perseverance ready to fly during these challenging times,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “This mission is emblematic of our nation’s spirit of meeting problems head-on and finding solutions together. The incredible science Perseverance will enable and the bold human missions it will help make possible are going to be inspirations for us all.”

“We’re pleased to be passing another milestone with the completion of the Flight Readiness Review,” said Matt Wallace, deputy project manager for the mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California. “But we’ll keep our heads down through the final prelaunch activities and the opening of the launch window next week, until we’re certain this spacecraft is safely on its way. Mars is a tough customer, and we don’t take anything for granted.”

With all the connections between the spacecraft and Atlas V launch vehicle complete, the majority of business remaining for Mars 2020’s Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations (ATLO) team involves checking out every one of the multitude of systems and subsystems onboard the rover, aeroshell, cruise stage, and descent stage.

“NASA can’t wait to take the next steps on the surface of Mars with Perseverance,” said Lori Glaze, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “The science and technology of this mission are going to help us address major questions about the geologic and astrobiologic history of Mars that we’ve been working on for decades, and we’re excited to take the whole word with us on this journey.”

“At this point, the spacecraft has been powered on and will remain so around the clock,” said Dave Gruel, ATLO manager for Mars 2020. “The launch operations team will continue to monitor the health of the spacecraft to ensure it’s ‘Go’ for launch – nothing glamorous, but an important part of the job.”

The spacecraft and launch teams have one more major review to complete. Scheduled Monday, July 27, the Launch Readiness Review is the last significant checkup before the mission receives final approval to proceed with launch.

“At present, everything is green across the board,” said Wallace. “Everyone involved with this endeavor, from the spacecraft team to the launch vehicle team to those working the range, are looking forward to seeing Perseverance begin its long-awaited flight to Mars.”

Around 1 p.m. EDT on July 27, or approximately one hour after the Launch Readiness Review ends, the agency will hold a preflight news conference that will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Other prelaunch briefings also will take place July 27, and Tuesday, July 28. A full list of media briefings for the Mars 2020 mission launch is available here:

https://go.nasa.gov/39inOsn

In February 2020, NASA’s Perseverance Rover began its long journey to Mars by first traveling across the United States. The rover was built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California and then carefully packed and flown to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. There, engineers integrated the rover with the spacecraft that carries it to Mars, and the Atlas V rocket chosen to send it on its way.Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Perseverance rover’s astrobiology mission will search for signs of ancient microbial life. It will also characterize the planet’s climate and geology, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first planetary mission to collect and cache selected samples of Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust). Subsequent missions, currently under consideration by NASA in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these cached samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

JPL, which is managed by Caltech in Pasadena, is building and will manage operations of Perseverance for NASA. The agency’s Launch Services Program, based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is responsible for launch management. The Mars 2020 mission with its Perseverance rover are part of America’s larger Moon to Mars exploration approach that includes missions to the Moon as a way to prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet. Charged with sending the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024, NASA will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028 through NASA’s Artemis program.

For more information about the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission, go to:

http://www.nasa.gov/perseverance

For more about NASA’s Moon to Mars plans, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/topics/moon-to-mars

-end-

HT/Joel O’Bryan

40 thoughts on “Mars Perseverance Rover opens daily launch window on Thursday, July 30, at 7:50 a.m. EDT.

  1. Beautiful and speedy launch.

    Disturbing to see the many “fake” comments in the chat.

    Why can’t we all get an MMRTG with 1kW effect in out houses and have the exchanged every 14 year?
    We could call it the peoples house reactor. End of grid, end of windmills, end of solar panels, end of Climate Hysteria.

    • “Why can’t we all get an MMRTG”
      Probably because it uses Plutonium.

      Sent off on the Russian RD-180 engine. We can make fun of the Russians all we want but they do make a reliable, powerful rocket engine. If you want to spend 50 minutes of your life learning all about rocket engines this is excellent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbH1ZDImaI8

      • Not just any old nuclear weapons grade plutonium in those RTGs like you can get at Nukes-R-Us. Pu-238 is really hard to get. We are procuring what we can from Russia in a collusion with them. Don’t tell Democrats. Their pea brains might explode like a teenager’s pimple.
        NASA realized that solar power for surface operations is a horrible choice. Reliable nuclear decay thermal power is the way to go.

    • “Why can’t we all get an MMRTG with 1kW effect in out (our) houses and have the(m) exchanged every 14 year(s)?”

      Well, for one thing you’d need 20-30 of those MMRTG to meet the peak and average demands of a typical house in the the US, depending on season and location, assuming your house is all-electric.

      For another thing, ever heard of terrorists constructing and using a “dirty bomb” to contaminate an important location (e.g., Wall street or LAX) with radioactive debris? . . . purchased or stolen “home” MMRTGs would be ideal for such use.

      But if you indeed meant them for out house use, don’t you think that a bit of overkill?

  2. Everything’s going smoothly for Perserverence. It just finished its separation from the last stage of the launch stack and contacted NASA’s Deep Space Network on the beginning of a 7 month cruise to Mars.

    The cool this about this Mars Rover is it is carrying a twin rotor helicopter drone to fly around. No small feat in Mars’ thin atmosphere. That’s gonna make for some cool pictures.

    Good thing for NASA and ULA to get the launch pad cleared in prep for Sunday’s arrival of a tropical storm raking Florida’s entire Atlantic Coastline.

    • “The cool this about this Mars Rover is it is carrying a twin rotor helicopter drone to fly around. No small feat in Mars’ thin atmosphere. That’s gonna make for some cool pictures.”

      They’ll have to be careful not to accidentally capture the camera crews and sound stage elements in the shot.

      • Damn! Good job you thought of that, or they’d probably go right ahead and do that, and then – shock! The game would be up! Phew… I’m so glad we have smart guys like you to save the day.
        How’s the weather over there on the Flat Earth?

        • THERE you are, Adrian!

          Hey look, I didn’t mean to make you cry last night, at least I hope I didn’t make you cry last night? Sometimes I get a little too rough when I toss guys like you about the intellectual room, you know? No hard feelings I hope?

          Did your video game . . . what was it . . . “Sea Kittens” right? Did it make you feel better?

          Did you win this time?

          You’ve still got unfinished business over here:

          https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/07/29/hump-day-hilarity-banned-by-big-tech/#comment-3043511

          I understand if you’d rather not, but I figured I’d ask since you looked so bad over there, but your mouth is running over here.

          I guess you feel better after you beat up the virtual Sea Kittens? So maybe you can redeem yourself in real life?

          You think?

          • Honestly, I just can’t be bothered with you. Business is therefore finished, because I say so. I have socks that are older, and smarter, than you. This conversation can serve no useful purpose.

          • Honestly, I just can’t be bothered with you. Business is therefore finished, because I say so.

            Oh your business is finished because you say so? Well by your own admission you just told me!

            Anyway, yeah that’s kinda what I thought you’d do. Can’t say I blame you.

            I’ll be around to remind you of your unfinished business, most likely when your mouth gets bigger than your ability to back it up.

            Like this time.

            Go Sea Kittens!

      • Not to worry Jeff. NASA no doubt has got Gavin and his experienced crew of CG animation whizz-bang experts at GISS working on it. All CMIP6 stuff is finished and uploaded by now, so they probably have some spare time. They’ll deliver the cleaned up animations using the finest supercomputer simulation data as needed. The Hollywood CGI crowd has nothing on GISS’s ability to deliver the finest SciFi. It is their “Spe-ci-al-i-ty.”
        /s

  3. Are they really “challenging times” when the challenge is almost entirely generated inside one’s own mind?

  4. From the article: “Mars is a tough customer, and we don’t take anything for granted.”

    Yes, it is. Everyone keep that in mind.

  5. The “proof of concept” helicopter will be interesting.

    I’m not sure how far it’s going to fly. The initial flights will be very short distances.

    The Chicoms are launching their version of a Mars orbiter and rover, too. They should name the orbiter and rover, Bill and Hillary, for Bill Clinton showing them how to build rocket launchers that work.

    efore Bill intervened, the Chicom rockets were blowing up on the launch pad. I wonder how much Bill and Hillary got paid for that little bit of assistance to Chinese communism? The least the Chicoms could do is to give Bill and Hillary some credit for their space program.

      • The Mars Polar Lander could be renamed Hillary.

        That lander shut down its descent braking engines too early on a faulty touch-down signal and fell unpowered for about 100-150 feet to the surface in a big crash. Just like Hillary 2016.

  6. When I first read the headline I thought it said they’d opened the “lunch” window and was thinking how cool that will be for the first astronauts on Mars to be welcomed with a warm lunch. We didn’t do that for Armstrong and crew. My, how times have changed.

  7. Perseverance will be the most serious attempt yet to identify evidence of past life on Mars. Jezero crater appears to be loaded with alluvial sedimentary features, including what appears to be a deltaic formation. It also has abundant clay mineralogy (phyllosilicates).


    https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/jezero-crater-landing-site-for-the-mars-perseverance-rover

    Perseverance carries the most complete array of geological sensors and lab capabilities of any Mars rover and will have the ability to cache samples for future recovery.


    https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/timeline/surface-operations/

    It’s the first robotic mission that might actually be able to determine which rocks to pick up.

    • David,
      Yeah it’s all pretty cool stuff happening with robotics. Being done without breaking the Treasury like on a Mars Manned-mission stuff and the very real danger of mission failure by astronaut death from an acute radiation episode from Solar energetic particles from a big solar CME, not to mention the GCR dangers of cancer and retinal blindness.

      I have to believe the Mars Manned mission teams and contractors probably have to be rooting silently for a failure of the eventual robotic sample return mission circa 2025. Once those sample tubes are in scientists’ hands on Earth, a lot of impetus to get to Mars sooner will be gone.

      A very interesting paper from NASA scientists on GCR radiation for an interplanetary mission during the coming SC 25 was published last week:
      https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1029/2019SW002428

      The authors key points:
      – The Sun is exhibiting a persistent decline in solar activity, similar to past secular minima.
      •The GCR radiation doses will probably exceed the already unprecedentedly high values.
      •The radiation environment will be a limiting factor for long-term mission planning.

      They calculate permissible mission durations based on permissible radiation hazards of GCR radiation for 45 year old astronauts behind 20 g/cm^2 aluminum shielding This almost 3 inches of aluminum. They got a conservative estimate of PMD of less than 300 days in most solar activity scenarios. Manned Mars can’t be done in that time frame and not have the astronauts lethally dosed by return to Earth.

      • “This is almost 3 inches of aluminum.”

        What they need to do is use water ice as radiation shielding. A one-meter thick water ice shield would stop all the radiation from getting through.

        Space travel won’t be safe for humans until they shield themselves adeqately. It can be done but it will require more propellants in orbit, and more infrastructure in the Earth/Moon system and on the Moon to supply that propellant. Unless Musk can manage to launch propellant from Earth cheap enogh.

        The next stage in safe human space development will be arranging sufficient radiation shielding and providing artificial gravity (centrifugal force) for humans in space to prevent physical deterioration of the human body.

        • That would be a metric tonne per square meter. Consider then how much volume and thus area a human habitat would need for 4 astronauts on an 200 day each way trip. A minimum might be 4x5x10 meter box is 200 sq meters, so 200 tonnes of just water shielding. Wow.
          Considering the delta-V needed to blast-out of LEO to a Mars transfer trajectory, then another delta-V burn at Mars arrival, then another huge delta-V burn to return to Earth. The amounts of propellant and thus rocket sizes ends up breaking the bank. You can’t use the water for anything else either.

          • A lot of those problems can be eliminated by using a vehicle that orbits where it periodically comes close to both Earth and Mars but never slows down. Instead, an orbital transfer vehicle at Earth or at Mars goes out to meet this transfer vehicle. Once the transfer vehicle is put in its “Buzz Aldrin” orbit, very little propellant is required thereafter to maintain it in this orbit.

            See Buzz Aldrin’s website for details on his Mars cycling space station concept. Add water ice shielding to it and a little artificial gravity (centrifugal force) and we have a viable system for transporting humans safely between Earth and Mars.

          • Tom,

            The laws of orbital mechanics make the “cycling space station” concept, as you summarized it, totally impractical to implement. Your statement that this “Buzz Aldrin” space station never slows down directly translates to it being in a circular orbit (orbital eccentricity = 0.00) around the Sun. In contrast, Mars is in a significantly-elliptical orbit (eccentricity = 0.0935) around the Sun and Earth is in a slightly-elliptical orbit (eccentricity = 0.0167) around the Sun. What the means is that the time interval from the space station passing closest to Mars and then subsequently closest approach to Earth will take much, much longer than the time between successive Earth-Mars oppositions (i.e., when both planet are in alignment relative to the Sun and are on the same side of the Sun), which happens about every two years.

            Furthermore, maintaining such a circular orbit in the presence of gravitational forces from the Sun, Jupiter and other planets will require an enormous amount of propellant expenditure over the course of many years.

            There is also the fact the the orbital planes of Earth and Mars are tilted relative to each other by about 2 degrees. This means that at times of the orbital transfer vehicle docking with the cycling space station near Mars or near Earth (perhaps at both points of proximity) significant amounts of propellant will be expended by the OTV to match the relative angle of the space station’s orbital plane. Changing orbital plane inclination is one of the most energy-expensive maneuvers when performing orbital docking of two objects. Not only that, because Earth and Mars are not in circular orbits, a relatively large amount of delta-V (= propellant expenditure) must provided by the OTV to match velocity magnitude with the space station at the time of rendezvous.

            Basically, for such a scheme to work, you need to match velocity VECTORS at times of closest-to-Mars and closest-to-Earth OTV/space station dockings . . . just having nearly-intersecting orbital points will be insufficient.

            And I haven’t even touched on the issues of maintaining the integrity and functionality of the “cycling space station” itself over, what, the twenty of more years that would be required for it to “pay back” it’s initially cost.

            It it just won’t work, with all due respect to Buzz.

  8. Just wondering how much COVID-19 virus might be carried aboard NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission.

      • Adrian, did you even bother to read the article that you linked?

        Quote taken directly from the article: ” ‘We don’t build a completely sterile spacecraft. That’s ridiculously impossible,’ Stricker says”.

        Also, check out this misleading statement in the same linked article: “They also use a method that NASA has used for decades. ‘A majority of components we [bake] at 110 degrees Celsius (230 degrees F) for 144 hours. That’s weeks. So, we are really killing it with fire,’ says Stricker.” Well, the Perserverence rover was almost fully assembled well before the December 2019-January 2020 worldwide spread of COVID-19. Therefore, this statement does not apply to eliminating COVID-19 from this rover.

        Finally, as to the subject of IPA wipes and swabs, that’s just window dressing at this point. There is no way to gain access tp the numerous tight spaces/surfaces on the rover which may have accumulated COVID-19 fomites.

        “None” . . . hardly.

      • Or mutates the virus . . . or does nothing at all.

        A path length on the order of 6 or more inches of intervening structural metals, structural carbon composite panels and instrument/avionics boxes between internal surfaces contaminated with bacteria and viruses and the external space radiation environment would be sufficient to shield such for the sevens months duration needed to reach Mars. It is reported that certain bacteria and viruses can also survive exposure to space vacuum conditions.

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