NASA will launch a rover to Mars this week - how to watch launch live from the UK
After months of anticipation, NASA will finally launch its Perseverance rover to Mars this week.
The launch will take place on July 30 at 7:50am EDT (12:50 BST).
The rover will launch from Kennedy Space Centre on board a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, and will then complete a 34 million mile journey to Mars, before landing in the Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021.
NASA will livestream the launch on its YouTube channel here.
Mirror Online will also be covering the launch live, so make sure you check back in on Thursday!
NASA's Mars 2020 project was first announced in December 2012, but launch opportunities have been limited.
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NASA explained: “Owing to the relative positions of Earth and Mars to each other, launch opportunities come up only every 26 months.
“If Perseverance didn't head to Mars this summer, the project would have to wait until September 2022 to try again, seriously impacting the long-term objectives of NASA's Mars Exploration Program and increasing overall mission risk.”
Its key mission is to search for signs of ancient microbial life, but will collect and store Martian rock and dust samples.Video Loading Video Unavailable The video will start in8Cancel Play now
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NASA hopes these samples will help to pave the way for human exploration of the red planet in the near future.
NASA added: “The Mars 2020 mission is part of a larger program that includes missions to the Moon as a way to prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.
“Charged with returning astronauts to the Moon by 2024, NASA will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028 through NASA's Artemis lunar exploration plans.”