On Thursday morning, an Atlas V rocket launched NASA’s latest rover, Perseverancetowards Mars.
This marked the third of three launches on the red planet in 2020, following the United Arab Emirates’ Hope of the China and Tianwen-1 missions in China, and approached the closing of a month’s “window” this year on the red planet. During such a window, which occurs about every 26 months, spacecraft can follow an elliptical orbit so that they will arrive in the position in the space where Mars will be in seven months, making the shortest possible journey to the red planet.
Even the smallest missions to Mars need a powerful rocket for launch, and this is especially true of a rover that will be the largest object that NASA has ever attempted to land on the surface of the red planet. Perseverance it weighs just over a ton.
For this mission, NASA has chosen an Atlas V rocket with four powerful rockets. The rocket built by the United Launch Alliance took flight under the clear sky from the Cape Canaveral Air Force station and, well, we will stop writing because the photos of this epic launch speak for themselves. We’re not sure we’ve ever seen a more breathtaking Atlas V launch.
List of NASA images