Mars Perseverance Descent Stage Preparations

©NASA

Mars Perseverance Descent Stage

Engineers perform mass properties testing on the rocket-powered descent stage of NASA's Mars Perseverance rover at Kennedy Space Center on April 12, 2020.

The testing to determine the center of gravity, or the point at which weight is evenly dispersed on all sides, was performed inside the Florida spaceport's Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility. The descent stage will lower the rover through the thin Martian atmosphere and onto the surface on Feb. 18, 2021.

Liftoff, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket, is targeted between July 17 and Aug. 5 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. NASA's Launch Services Program based at Kennedy is managing the launch. The rover will seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for possible return to Earth.

Photo credit: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory larger image

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.