Humanity's most sophisticated rover launched at 7:50 a.m. EDT on July 30th on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The Perseverance rover is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the Red Planet.
Perseverance's mission is to seek out signs of past microscopic life on Mars, explore the diverse geology of its landing site, Jezero Crater, and demonstrate key technologies that will help us prepare for future robotic and human exploration.
The electricity needed to operate NASA's Mars 2020 rover is provided by a power system called a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator, or MMRTG. MMRTGs are provided to NASA for civil space applications by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The radioisotope fuel is inserted into the MMRTG at the DOE's Idaho National Laboratory before the MMRTG is shipped to the launch site.
Building upon a legacy of over 60 years, NASA’s Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) program delivers innovative radioisotope-based power systems and technology that enable science missions to some of the most distant, dustiest, darkest, and harshest environments in the solar system. In partnership with the Department of Energy, the RPS Program is a multi-center effort. The program reports to the leadership of NASA's Science Mission Directorate (Planetary Science Division).