And after eight years of careful planning, invention and checking off a high-tech packing list, NASA's fifth Mars rover was ready for launch. "Because going to Mars is hard", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said just before liftoff.
Paris said Mastcam-Z will also allow researchers to see fine details on closer objects, plan paths across terrain and assist the "cache cam", which is is the part of the rover that will collect and hold the samples, located within the sample cacher with another angle from which researchers can supervise the collection process. According to NASA, although the signals sent by the spacecraft after its launch were received by the agency's ground stations, they weren't processed properly. Six other spacecraft are exploring the planet from orbit: three from the USA, two from Europe and one from India.
Following a seven-month journey, the rover is expected to land at Jezero Crater on Mars on February 18, 2021.
What's more, the rover carries the words "Explore as one" on a plate in Morse code, as well as the names of about 10.9 million people on three silicon chips "who signed up to ride along on Perseverance's journey to Mars".
NASA has made a successful historic launch to the red planet - Mars in quest to find if it would be possible for humans to one day stay in that planet, and at the same time scout the planet for evidence of ancient life.
From the crater, Perseverance will select rock and soil samples to be brought back from the Red Planet in the near future as it searches for evidence of carbon and ancient microbial life. However, former astronaut Buzz Aldrin said he thought a slightly later target date of 2040 was more realistic.
It is the latest launch from Earth to Mars during a busy month of July, following probes sent by the United Arab Emirates and China. This issue will be resolved once the spacecraft moves further into space.
A Mars helicopter is also being transported with the rover.
This marks NASA's ninth journey to the Martian surface.
Perseverance also ferries a 1.8-kg helicopter to the surface of Mars, and the helicopter would be the first aircraft to fly in a controlled way on another planet. The thin Martian atmosphere - 99% less dense than Earth's - poses a challenge to Ingenuity, which was created to be light, with rotor blades that are larger and spin more quickly than what would be needed for a helicopter of its mass on Earth.
NASA's longer-term goal is to send a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s. NASA's Perseverance blasted off atop an Atlas V rocket Thursday morning.
The next-generation robotic rover - a car-sized six-wheeled scientific vehicle - is scheduled to deploy a mini helicopter on Mars and test out equipment for future human missions to the fourth planet from the Sun. For interplanetary spacecraft, NASA utilizes the Deep Space Network, a large system of large antennas designed for communicating in deep space.
The liftoff of Perseverance is the third Mars exploration of the global community this year following China's first Mars mission, Tianwen-1, and the first Mars orbiter of the United Arab Emirates earlier this month.