Thursday morning, an Atlas V rocket launched the latest NASA rover, Perseverance, to Mars.
This marked the third of three launches to the Red Planet in 2020 – after the United Arab Emirates’ Hope and China’s Tianwen-1 missions – and it came close to closing the one-month “window” on the red planet. During such a window, which occurs approximately every 26 months, spacecraft can follow an elliptical orbit such that they arrive at the place in space where Mars will be in seven months – making the shortest possible trip. towards the red planet.
Even the smallest missions to Mars need a powerful rocket to launch, and this is especially true for a rover that will be the largest object NASA has ever tried to land on the surface of the Red Planet. Perseverance weighs just over a metric ton.
For this mission, NASA chose an Atlas V rocket with four solid rocket boosters. The rocket built by the United Launch Alliance has taken off under clear skies from Cape Canaveral Air Station, and we’ll stop writing because the photos from this epic launch speak for themselves. We’re not sure we’ve ever seen a more breathtaking Atlas V launch.
List image by NASA