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NASA is delaying the launch of its Perseverance Robber until at least July 30

NASA’s Mars 2020 mission has been delayed yet again, and will launch at the earliest July 30, according to the space agency.

This is the second time the launch has been delayed in the past week – it was originally scheduled to launch on July 17, but this has been pushed back to July 22.

NASA must have the Mars 2020 spacecraft in space by August 15 otherwise it will miss the ‘launch pad’ to get to Mars and will have a costly two-year delay.

The launch pad is determined by the alignment of Earth and Mars, with launch planned to ensure the shortest possible travel time between the two planets.

Even if it is delayed until the last minute of August 15, NASA says the spacecraft and persistence rover will still land on Mars at approximately 8:00 PM GMT on February 18, 2021.

If it doesn’t meet the deadline and can’t launch on August 15, the $ 3 billion cost of the Mars 2020 mission will increase by at least $ 500 million, NASA said.

NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover will be able to study, analyze, and even collect stones and soil from the Red Planet to look for signs of ancient life.  It also has a weather station, a surface radar and a panoramic camera on board

NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover will be able to study, analyze, and even collect stones and soil from the Red Planet to look for signs of ancient life. It also has a weather station, a surface radar and a panoramic camera on board

The latest delay is due to processing problems with the launch vehicle that will get Earth’s rover and spacecraft into space.

NASA specifically said that a liquid oxygen sensor line produced “ off-nominal data ” during a practice session and that the team needs more time to evaluate what happened.

“Due to vehicle launch delays in preparation for spacecraft operations, NASA and United Launch Alliance have moved the initial launch attempt of the Mars 2020 mission to no earlier than July 30,” the agency wrote.

“A liquid oxygen sensor line presented off-nominal data during the wet clothing rehearsal and additional time is required for the team to inspect and evaluate.”

The rover’s name, perseverance, has taken on additional significance in recent months, according to NASA officials, who say COVID-19 presented new hurdles.

The coronavirus pandemic forced NASA scientists to work in smaller teams, some working at home, to meet the strict deadline for the launch window.

NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission is expected to continue before August 15, despite coronavirus setbacks that could have led to a two-year delay

NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission is expected to continue before August 15, despite coronavirus setbacks that could have led to a two-year delay

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission is expected to continue before August 15, despite coronavirus setbacks that could have led to a two-year delay

The rover mission is scheduled to launch on an Atlas V missile from Cape Canaveral, Florida no earlier than July 30, and will land on the Red Planet in February 2021.

The rover mission is scheduled to launch on an Atlas V missile from Cape Canaveral, Florida no earlier than July 30, and will land on the Red Planet in February 2021.

The rover mission is scheduled to launch on an Atlas V missile from Cape Canaveral, Florida no earlier than July 30, and will land on the Red Planet in February 2021.

The previous delay was due to a contamination issue in the ground support lines of the NASA Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility.

The original day was July 17, but due to issues with the ground system equipment with a faulty crane, the team pushed it to July 20, then back to July 22.

NASA will have two more weeks of potential launch windows before Mars and Earth are no longer aligned in a way that makes the mission possible.

The Mars 2020 team said that “the first launch opportunity is scheduled no earlier than July 30, 2020” at approximately 12:50 BST.

“The launch windows last between 30 minutes and two hours, with unique launch opportunities every five minutes.”

There is a daily launch option between July 30 and August 15, with all launches taking place between 12:50 BST and 13:55 BST.

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.

The surface of the Red Planet has been visited by eight NASA spacecraft and this – the ninth – will be the first to collect samples for return to Earth.

NASA says the mission will also demonstrate key technologies to prepare for future robot and human exploration – possibly within a decade.

This aluminum plate flies to Mars on the side of the Perseverance rover - it commemorates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and pays tribute to the perseverance of health workers around the world

This aluminum plate flies to Mars on the side of the Perseverance rover - it commemorates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and pays tribute to the perseverance of health workers around the world

This aluminum plate flies to Mars on the side of the Perseverance rover – it commemorates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and pays tribute to the perseverance of health workers around the world

The Mars 2020 mission will start this summer since the agency announced the project in December 2012.

Due to the relative positions of Earth and Mars, the launch opportunities only emerge every 26 months.

In addition to the pressure to make it to the relatively tight launch window, there are other major challenges in preparing for a mission to Mars.

In the case of perseverance – the heaviest payload yet to go to the Red Planet – designing a new parachute for landing on Mars was a major challenge.

Much effort was also put into sharpening the performance of the rovers Sample Caching System, the most complex and cleanest mechanism ever sent into space – with samples to be retrieved by the ESA Fetch rover in a decade.

The plaque dedicated to health workers can be seen on the side of the Perseverance Robber going to Mars in July or August

The plaque dedicated to health workers can be seen on the side of the Perseverance Robber going to Mars in July or August

The plaque dedicated to health workers can be seen on the side of the Perseverance Robber going to Mars in July or August

NASA's Perseverance Rover will travel across Mars using an ultraviolet laser to determine which minerals and compounds are present in the ground, based on how the light scatters

NASA's Perseverance Rover will travel across Mars using an ultraviolet laser to determine which minerals and compounds are present in the ground, based on how the light scatters

NASA’s Perseverance Rover will travel across Mars using an ultraviolet laser to determine which minerals and compounds are present in the ground, based on how the light scatters

Other missions to the Red Planet will be launched this summer – an orbiter that will track the weather of the UAE and a Chinese landing mission that is also looking for signs of life

The mission – to look for signs of past microbial life on Mars and to collect rock and soil samples for eventual return to Earth – is considered essential by the space agency.

“The mission has one launch, 314 million miles of interplanetary space, and seven minutes of terror to safely reach the surface of Mars,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division.

“When we first see the landscape at Jezero Crater and we really begin to realize the scientific abundance for us, the fun really starts.”

Unlike SpaceX’s first astronaut launch late last month, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine does not urge the public to stay at home and watch online to avoid crowds.

“Looks like they didn’t listen to us,” said Bridenstine. “So we ask people to follow all necessary guidelines to protect themselves.”

Perseverance is one of three upcoming missions to Mars. The United Arab Emirates and China are also preparing spacecraft for launch on the red planet in mid-August.

The European Space Agency and Russian space agency Roscosmos were supposed to send the ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover to the Red Planet this summer, but that mission was delayed due to the corona virus.

ESA officials said it was not possible to complete all necessary tests and possible adjustments in time for the August start window deadline.

It will launch by the end of 2022 – the next time Earth and Mars are aligned.

NASA plans to send a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s after its first landing on the moon

Mars has become the next giant leap for human exploration of space.

But before humans reach the red planet, astronauts will take a series of small steps by returning to the moon for a year-long mission.

Details of a lunar orbit mission have been revealed as part of a timeline of events that led to missions to Mars in the 2030s.

NASA has outlined its four-stage plan (photo), which it hopes will one day enable people to visit Mars at the Humans to Mars summit held in Washington DC yesterday.  This will entail multiple missions to the moon in the coming decades

NASA has outlined its four-stage plan (photo), which it hopes will one day enable people to visit Mars at the Humans to Mars summit held in Washington DC yesterday.  This will entail multiple missions to the moon in the coming decades

NASA has outlined its four-stage plan (photo), which it hopes will one day enable people to visit Mars at the Humans to Mars summit held in Washington DC yesterday. This will entail multiple missions to the moon in the coming decades

In May 2017, Greg Williams, Deputy Deputy Administrator of Policies and Plans at NASA, outlined the plan of the four-stage space agency hoping it will make people visit Mars someday, as well as its expected timetable.

Phase one and two will include multiple trips to the lunar space to allow the construction of a habitat that will form a gathering place for the trip.

The last piece of hardware delivered would be the actual Deep Space Transport vehicle that would later be used to transport a crew to Mars.

And a lifetime simulation of life on Mars will be performed in 2027.

Phase three and four will begin after 2030 and will include ongoing crew expeditions to the Mars system and the surface of Mars.

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