Tuesday, August 11, 2020
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket carrying NASA's nuclear-powered Perseverance Mars rover roared to life and lifted off from planet Earth early Thursday, the first step in a decade-long program to search for signs of past microbial life and to collect rock and soil samples for eventual return to Earth. The $2.4 billion rover and its supporting cruise stage " equipped with solar panels, thrusters, navigation and communications systems " were released onto a near-perfect trajectory to Mars about 57 minutes after liftoff from Cape Canaveral. The journey will take seven months, putting Perseverance on track for landing on the red planet next February.
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