Launch of NASA Mars rover delayed again

WION Web Team New York, New York, United States of America Jul 01, 2020, 08.49 PM(IST)

NASA Mars rover Photograph:( Reuters )

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If the Perseverance rover isn't on its way by mid-August, it will have to wait until 2022 when Earth and Mars are back in proper alignment, costing NASA close to $500 million for the delay alone.

NASA has delayed the launch of its newest Mars rover yet again. The liftoff from Cape Canaveral has now been shifted to the end of July at the earliest.

If the Perseverance rover isn't on its way by mid-August, it will have to wait until 2022 when Earth and Mars are back in proper alignment, costing NASA close to $500 million for the delay alone.

NASA is trying to eke out more time in this summer's launch opportunity, now lasting until at least August 15.

The chance to fly to Mars comes up only every 26 months. 

It is NASA's most ambitious Mars mission yet, totalling around $ 3 billion. Besides seeking signs of past microscopic Martian life, Perseverance will gather rocks and soil for eventual return to Earth.

Also read | NASA postpones Mars rover Perseverance launch to July 20

Rocket maker United Launch Alliance needs extra time to deal with a liquid oxygen sensor line that showed questionable readings during a recent practice countdown, officials said Tuesday.

China, meanwhile, still is pressing ahead with launches this month of Mars spacecraft. 
Russia and the European Space Agency had to bow out, delaying their Mars rover until 2022 because of delayed spacecraft testing and travel limitations due to the coronavirus pandemic.