NASA’s Perseverance Rover, designed to take rock and soil samples from Mars in search of previous life on the Red Planet, is due to launch today, 30 July.
Scientists from Imperial College London and the Natural History Museum will help the Rover select samples which will be taken back to Earth in a bid to find evidence of ancient microbial life.
If you’re looking for more information on when and how you can watch this potentially historic launch, you’re in the right place…
What time is the Perseverance Rover launch today?
The launch is scheduled for the start of a two-hour time slot which begins at 07:50 local time (12:50 BST, 11:50 GMT).
Should any issues arise and Perseverance does not launch today, there’s a three-week window – until 15 August – for it to still do so.
If all goes to plan however, the Perseverance Rover will be launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida today and will be due to land on Mars in February.
If you want to watch the launch from this side of the world, Nasa’s social media accounts on sites including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Twitch will be broadcasting it live.
Perseverance will carry instruments designed to seek out previous signs of life and to reconstruct the the Red Planet’s geological past.
The Rosalind Franklin rover was built by Airbus in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, and will be able to drill 6.5ft (2m) below the surface to gather samples from parts of the planet which are unaffected by radiation.
Imperial College’s Professor Mark Sephton will help identify samples taken from Mars. He said: ‘I hope that the samples we select and return will help current and future generations of scientists answer the question of whether there was ever life on the Red Planet.
‘With one carefully chosen sample from Mars, we could discover that the history of life on the Earth is not unique in the Universe.’
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