"Yesterday's lovely launch of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover inspires scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs alike, to pursue, explore, and innovate through space activities for the benefit of all of Earth's inhabitants", said Ken Davidian, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of New Space: The Journal of Space Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Via NASA's Deep Space Network, the largest scientific telecommunications network in the world, the rover sent out a signal at 9:15 a.m. EST but NASA did not receive it until 11:30 a.m.
NASA's Mars rover Perseverance has blasted off from Florida's Cape Canaveral on a $US2.4 billion ($A3.4 billion) mission to search for traces of potential past life on the planet.
"Jezero Crater is the ideal place to search for signs of ancient life", said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in a press release.
Scientists have long debated whether Mars - once a much more hospitable place than it is today - ever harbored life.
Perseverance will conduct an experiment to convert elements of the carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere into propellant for future rockets launching off the Martian surface, or to produce breathable oxygen for future astronauts. Two future missions now under consideration by NASA, in collaboration with ESA (European Space Agency), will work together to get the samples to an orbiter for return to Earth. The Mars Perseverance rover only has a short window of opportunity, and that was nearly missed due to the pandemic. A technology demonstrator, Ingenuity's goal is a pure flight test - it carries no science instruments.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory Director Mike Watkins quipped about the California quake: "It was just the Earth being excited about going to Mars".
This is a known issue that we have encountered on other planetary missions, including during the launch of NASA's Curiosity rover in 2011. "We will see you there February 18, 2021". NASA's Launch Services Program, based at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is responsible for launch management, and ULA provided the Atlas V rocket.