In the wee morning hours on July 30, NASA launched the Mars Rover 2020, named Perseverance, into space with the help of a rocket. It blasted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, and started its big trip to Mars.
Almost immediately after launch, the mission had a bit of a hiccup: Perseverance went into safe mode and experienced a communications issue.
Here’s What We Know (So Far) About the Mars Rover Perseverance Mission
There’s nothing to worry about regarding the hiccups, according to NASA and Space.com. In fact, the communications issue occurred during the 2011 Mars Rover launch as well.
So why is Perseverance in “safe mode”? It was an issue of temperature. The cooling systems in the rover were colder than expected, because Perseverance was in the shadow of the earth. Once the rover continued on its trip and made its way into sunlight, the temperature regulated. In other words: issue fixed.
As for the communications issue, an identical problem happened in 2011 with the rover Curiosity. NASA and the Perseverance teams communicates through the Deep Space Network, which is consists of a bunch of antennas. When they tried to communicate with the rover shortly after launch, the spacecraft was still too close. So they got an earful of noise instead! Luckily, this was an easy fix too: just a simple adjustment to the network settings.
So, even though the Mars Rover spacecraft experienced a couple hiccups, according to NASA, the mission is still right on track. If everything else goes according to plan, the spacecraft will travel 300 million miles over the course of the next seven months.
Next stop: Mars, where Perseverance will be used to collect rock samples and look for any evidence of life.
In the meantime, kids can color these Mars 2020 Rover Perseverance printables.
- As we gear up for the launch of Perseverance, we can learn a little about the most famous Mars rover of all time: Curiosity! Check out this gorgeous book that tells the story of a Mars rover.
- For younger kids, learn the magic of solar power with DIY Solar Rover that you can make out of a soda can!
- If your little scientists love a challenge, you can help them build this amazing STEM Solar Science Experimental Rover!
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