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NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover with Coax Helo Prepares for Launch

SpaceNews reported that Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division, said in a March-19 virtual town hall meeting, "We’re going to ensure that we meet that launch window in July …As of right now, and even if we go to a next stage of alert, Mars 2020 is moving forward on schedule and everything is, so far, very well on track.”  Kennedy Space Center is at NASA response framework’s “Stage 3”, which SpaceNews notes means that “telework is required for all employees, with the exception of ‘mission-essential personnel’ such as those working on Perseverance.” 

After traveling 33.9 million miles to Mars, the Perseverance rover will collect and store soil and rock samples for a future retrieval mission. The mission plan includes deployment on Mars of an extraordinary coaxial helicopter that will image a large area surrounding the landing site. According to Wikipedia, it is expected to fly up to five times in a 30-day test campaign. Flights will be limited to a few minutes at an altitude of 3 to 10 meters AGL, and may traverse distances of up to 300 meters. Images courtesy of NASA/JPL.