Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover successfully launched

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (NBC) – The third mars mission in two weeks is underway. NASA’s newest Mars 2020 rover, Perseverance, launched Thursday morning from Cape Canaveral, Florida aboard an Atlas V rocket.

The $2.4 billion rover is expected to land on Mars in February and then spend about two years searching for evidence of life.

Perseverance will explore an ancient river delta that could contain evidence of past life.

Scientists estimate the rivers that built the delta flowed over 3.5 billion years ago when life may have flourished on the Red Planet.

20 cameras will be used to search for biosignatures of primitive life and drill into Mars to collect rock and soil samples for labs on earth. The rover will also use two microphones to capture audio from its landing and explorations.

The launch included a helicopter drone dubbed “Ingenuity.”

If all goes according to plan, the samples should arrive to labs on earth by 2031.

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