Thursday could be a big day for Perseverance.
Perseverance is NASA’s new Mars rover, which is set to begin a seventh-month journey to the red planet on Thursday morning. The rover is off to collect signs of livable conditions on Mars and any microbial clues from rock and soil samples. It’ll also be carrying the Ingenuity Mars helicopter to see how the device flies on another planet.
The mission is supposed to help get humans to Mars eventually. But Perseverance is not expected to arrive until February 18, 2021, at Mars’ Jezero Crater, after launching from the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Thursday, July 30.
If you saw SpaceX and NASA’s International Space Station launch at the end of May, you know that if conditions aren’t right, the launch could be pushed back. The rover’s launch window is until Aug. 15. Missions to Mars from Earth are only possible every 26 months when the two planets are a closer together. Even during this “closer” period it’s a seventh-month trip.
But if all goes well for Thursday, watching the launch will be easier than viewing the Chinese Tianwen-1 Mars mission, which wasn’t officially broadcast last week. Here are all the ways to catch takeoff.
Starting at 7 a.m. ET on Thursday, Twitter will be streaming the launch live. There’s an event page where you can set a reminder about the livestream. Until launch you can tweet about the #CountdownToMars.
Live events are practically synonymous with YouTube at this point. The launch will be available for early morning viewing on the streaming platform.
On NASA TV
NASA Television doesn’t get better than on launch days. You can find the channel on the NASA website; tune in for all the commentary and live shots.