This morning I arose to view the launch of the Mars rover Perseverance. It’s on its way to Jezero Crater.
An Atlas V took the rover up.
As I write, we are waiting for the Centaur rocket to burn.
The rover is still “coasting” around your planet. Right now there is a guy explaining the solid oxide electrolysis system – the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment – (MOXIE) which will be tested on Mars. MOXIE will suck in the thin Martian atmosphere, mostly CO2 and convert it to O2. This is important for future missions: can we make what we need there rather than haul it along?
This rover has a laser to shoot at rocks and a little Martian chopper/drone – Ingenuity – that will fly around. The rover will collect samples which eventually can be returned to Earth.
Perseverance should arrive at Mars in 7 months.
The 2nd burn was successful. There was good separation of Mars 2020 from the Centaur. The deep space net picked up a signal from the vehicle. Things are good.
Meanwhile, as the rover crawls its way through space to Mars, who can say what this critter is?