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NASA’s next Mars rover cleared for launch on July 30

NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission has cleared the launch readiness review, the last significant checkup before the mission receives final approval to proceed with launch.

NASA is targeting 7.50 a.m. EDT on July 30 for the launch of the rover on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

“Our @NASAPersevere rover is GO for launch on July 30,” NASA said in a tweet on Monday after the review.

The launch window is approximately two hours, with a launch opportunity every five minutes.

The weather is 80 per cent go for launch, according to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

The rover will land in Mars’ Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021.

The mission — designed to better understand the geology and climate of Mars and seek signs of ancient life on the Red Planet — will use the robotic scientist, which weighs just under 1,043 kgs and is the size of a small car, to collect and store a set of rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth by future Mars sample return missions.

It also will test new technologies to benefit future robotic and human exploration of Mars.

NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance is 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.