You can breathe easy now: All is officially fine with NASA Mars Rover Perseverance has just been launched.
Perseverance went in “safe mode” protective shortly after its removal yesterday (July 30) because part of the spacecraft went a bit colder than expected when it took off from the shadow of Earth.
NASA officials stressed at the time that this development was not particularly concerned and that Perseverance, the agency’s $ 2.7 billion core Mars 2020 mission, is likely to recover quickly. That optimism happened: The rover went out of safe mode and resumed normal operation, mission team members announced today (July 31).
Live Updates: NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance mission in real time
“With the exit of safe mode, the team is moving up to the interplanetary cruise business,” Mars 2020 project deputy manager Matt Wallace of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Pasadena, California, she said in an update today. “The next stop, Jezero Crater.”
Perseverance will be maintained within the 28-mile (45-kilometer) width of Jezero on February 18, 2021. The crater goes to the lake and delta river billions of years ago, and r the car-sized rover will search the area for signs of ancient life and characterize its geology in detail.
Perseverance will also cache several dozen samples on Mars, making a joint NASA / European Space Agency campaign will return to Earth, possibly as early as 2031.
Related: The mission of Mars Perseverance rover in the photos
Mars 2020 will also hold several technology shows. For example, one of the instruments of Perseverance will generate oxygen from the atmosphere dominated by the carbon dioxide of Mars. The mission also has small features a helicopter called Ingenuity, which will try to make the first rotorcraft flights into the skies of another world.
Mars 2020 is one of three missions that are currently making their way to the Red Planet. The United Arab Emirates Hope orbiter and of China Tianwen-1 orbiter-lander-rover mission launched on 19 July and 23 July respectively. All of these craft are scheduled to arrive in Marsin in February 2021.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.