NASA Mars 2020 mission is DELAYED again due to a contamination issue found in ground equipment
- NASA was forced to delay its Mars 2020 mission due to a contamination issue
- The new date is July 22 at 9:35 ET and the rocket will leave from Cape Canaveral
- This is the second time the launched was delayed – the original date was July 17
NASA has delayed its highly-anticipated Mars 2020 launch by another two days, pushing the date to July 22.
The American space agency said additional time is needed to resolve a contamination issue in the ground support lines in NASA’s Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF).
According to the announcement, the spacecraft and vehicle have not been affected and the launch is still set to take off at 9:35 ET from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The mission will take the Perseverance rover, along with the Ingenuity helicopter, to the Red planet to look for signs of past microscopic life and explore the geology of the Jezero Crater landing site.
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NASA has delayed the highly-anticipated Mars 2020 launch by another two days, pushing the date to July 22. The American space agency said additional time is needed to resolve a contamination issue in the ground support lines
The launch window is determined by the alignment of the Earth and Mars, with lift-off scheduled to ensure the shortest possible travel time between the two planets.
If the launch happens any later than mid-August, the planets will be too far apart, meaning NASA will have to wait another two years for them to move back into alignment, increasing the cost of the $3 billion mission by at least $500 million.
NASA, like many companies in the US, were forced out of the office and into their homes during the coronavirus pandemic, which caused setbacks in work that could have resulted in a two-year delay.
The original day was July 17, but due to ground system equipment problems involving a faulty crane the team pushed it to July 20 – but the latest concerns has added two more days, according to Space.com.
The mission will take the Perseverance rover (pictured) to the Red planet to look for signs of past microscopic life and explore the geology of the Jezero Crater landing site
NASA Ingenuity helicopter (pictured) will launch with the rover to Mars
NASA and United Launch Alliance are now targeting Wednesday, July 22, for launch of the Mars 2020 mission due to a processing delay encountered during encapsulation activities of the spacecraft,’ NASA officials said in an update.
‘Additional time was needed to resolve a contamination concern in the ground support lines in NASA’s Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF).’
Perseverance is set to make landfall inside Mars’ Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021.
The Red Planet’s surface has been visited by eight NASA spacecraft and this one – the ninth – will be the first that involves gathering samples to bring back to Earth.
The rover’s astrobiology mission will look for signs of past microscopic life on Mars, and explore the geology of the Jezero Crater landing site.
NASA says the mission will also demonstrate key technologies to help prepare for future robotic and human exploration – possibly within a decade.
‘Fifty-one years ago, NASA was deep into final preparations for the first Moon landing,’ said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Perseverance is set to make landfall inside Mars’ Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021
Perseverance is one of three upcoming missions to Mars. The United Arab Emirates and China are also preparing spacecraft for launch to the red planet by mid-August.
The European Space Agency and Russian space agency Roscosmos were due to send the ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover to the Red Planet this summer, but that mission was delayed due to coronavirus.
ESA officials said it wasn’t possible to complete all necessary testing and possible adaptations in time for the August launch window deadline.
It will launch towards the end of 2022 – the next time Earth and Mars are aligned.
WHAT IS NASA’S MARS 2020 MISSION?
The Mars 2020 mission is part of Nasa’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet.
Nasa hopes the mission will help to answer key questions about the potential for life on Mars.
The mission also provides opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars, including producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, and identifying water.
The mission is timed for a launch in July/August 2020 when Earth and Mars are in good positions relative to each other for landing on Mars.
According to NASA, the new rover will have 23 cameras (artist’s impression pictured)