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NASA’s Next Mars Rover GO For Launch Thursday From Cape Canaveral

NASA's Perseverance rover awaits its ride to space on ULA's Atlas V rocket. Photo: ULA

NASA is set to launch a rover to Mars Thursday morning from Cape Canaveral. The two hour launch window opens at 7:50 a.m. EST.

The goal of NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover is to search for ancient signs of life on the red planet, and prepare samples for a future return mission to bring rocks and dirt back to Earth.

Perseverance is outfitted with high-tech cameras, lasers, spectrometers and sensors to help identify rock samples that could contain organic material. It also contains a radar system to peer beneath the rocky surface.

It’s also bringing a stow-away: An experimental helicopter named Ingenuity.

The rover is launching on a United Launch Alliance Atlas Five rocket from Cape Canaveral. Weather is favorable.

It will take about seven months to get to Mars, with a scheduled landing in February.

It’s the third mission launching to Mars this month following spacecraft from the United Arab Emirates and China.

Watch launch coverage starting at 7 a.m. on our Facebook page.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to ... Read Full Bio »