Recap: NASA and the United Launch Alliance have again delayed the launch of the Mars Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity helicopter. This is the second time the mission launch has been pushed back. It was originally scheduled to blast off on July 17 but that date was changed to July 22 due to a “processing delay encountered during encapsulation activities of the spacecraft.”
The space agency said that during a recent wet dress rehearsal, a liquid oxygen sensor line expressed off-nominal data. As such, additional time is needed for the team to inspect and further evaluate the issue.
A wet dress rehearsal is a test that involves loading liquid propellant into the rocket to check for any abnormalities that could cause issues during launch.
NASA has now pegged July 30 for the first launch attempt with further opportunities through August 15. The agency said it is also checking to see if the launch window can be extended further into August.
Perseverance is loaded with seven scientific instruments and nearly two dozen cameras that'll be used to further study the planet's geological makeup. With any luck, the data will help scientists better understand how the environment was formed and evolved over time.
NASA back in March christened its Mars rover “Perseverance” after the completion of an essay contest that was open to students across the country. It is nearly identical in design to its predecessor, the Mars Curiosity rover, which touched down on the Martian surface on August 6, 2012, and has been operating there ever since.
Image credit: NASA