NASA is inviting the public to take part in virtual activities and events ahead of the launch of the agency’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, which is targeted for 7:50 a.m. EDT Thursday, July 30, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Live coverage and countdown commentary will begin at 7 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website, as well as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Daily Motion, and Theta.TV. As part of the broadcast, Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Gregory Porter will perform a special rendition of “America the Beautiful.”
Perseverance is NASA’s latest Red Planet rover, designed to search for astrobiological evidence of ancient microbial life on Mars. Following a seven-month journey, it will land at Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021. There, Perseverance will gather rock and soil samples for future return to Earth. It also will characterize the planet’s climate and geology and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet. The robotic scientist, which weighs just under 2,300 pounds (1,043 kilograms), also will carry the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, a technology demonstration that marks the first attempt at powered, controlled flight on another planet.
Members of the public can attend the launch virtually, receiving mission updates, and opportunities normally received by on-site guests. NASA’s virtual launch experience for Mars 2020 Perseverance rover includes: a behind-the-scenes look at the mission; augmented reality filters; access to an engaging NASA social community; an invitation to submit videos to be part of the televised launch broadcast; tool kits for student; a chance to take a souvenir photo in our Mars Photo Booth; and the opportunity to send your name to Mars!
“More than 112,000 people registered to be our virtual guests for NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight launch in May, which was the first time the agency had offered this type of launch experience to the public,” said NASA Associate Administrator for Communications Bettina Inclán. “For our Mars 2020 Perseverance rover launch, we hope even more people will join us as we #CountdownToMars!”
To participate, members of the public can register to stay up-to-date on mission information, mission highlights, and interaction opportunities. To find out more, visit: