This morning, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) successfully launched the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Perseverance’s main objective while on Mars is to search for evidence of ancient life and collect geological samples for a future Mars mission to potentially bring back to Earth. Attached to Perseverance, and also en route to Mars, is the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, which will be the first attempt at controlled flight on another planet. Perseverance is slated to land on Mars in February 2021.
“I would like to congratulate NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, United Launch Alliance, and all the dedicated scientists and engineers who contributed to the development and successful launch of the Mars 2020 mission, an effort made more challenging by the pandemic," saidChairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). "As we wait with great anticipation for Perseverance to begin its exploration of Mars, I hope that the younger generations who watched today’s launch will be inspired to be a part of our nation’s future innovations in science, technology, engineering, and math and continue our discoveries in space and on Earth.”
“Today, NASA’s Perseverance rover launches the United States into a new era of Mars exploration, bringing us one step closer in our search for signs of ancient microbial life and our future exploration of the red planet with humans,” saidCongresswoman Kendra Horn (D-OK). “This groundbreaking rover carries with it sophisticated science instruments, including the collection of samples for future return to Earth, the first-ever microphones to record sound on Mars, the first spacesuit samples for a manned mission to Mars, and the first aircraft to be flown on another planet, the helicopter Ingenuity. This marks an important milestone and the culmination of years of work by countless scientists and engineers. I look forward to seeing what NASA’s Perseverance discovers.”