For all you space enthusiasts, rover lovers and astronomy majors out there — this one is for you. Although, the astronomy majors may be…occupied at this time.
NASA’s missions to Mars have always incited the idea that we may not be alone in this universe. Watching footage of our rovers explore the rocky terrain in search of life and resources is truly remarkable, but have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes to make it all possible? Now’s your chance.
The Mars 2020 rover is being built at this very moment and NASA invites you to watch every minute of it, from anywhere in the world. But wait, there’s more. You can interact with the actual engineers and members of the Mars 2020 team as you watch them bring the rover to life. We’ll tell you when and how.
What is Mars 2020?
First, for those of you who might not be too familiar with the Mars 2020 project, here’s the 411. NASA has given the green light to launch its next mission to the Red Planet.
Only, this one will be different. It will be the first mission to search for signs of past life on Mars. Start humming that Twilight Zone tune.
To do this, a team of brilliant engineers and technicians has been tasked with constructing and testing the next Mars rover. Hence Mars 2020. The rover will be built to collect and store both rock and soil samples found on the surface for a potential future mission, which will entail bringing the findings back to Earth to be studied.
Related: You can get a more in-depth look at Mars 2020 here.
The assembly and testing stage still has months to go before the rover has to be shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for launch preparations. As of right now, the actual launch window is scheduled to open on July 20, 2020.
Wanna see some amazing Mars footage? Tap or click here for a cool Mars video.
When, where and how to watch
Commencing today, NASA gives us earthlings the opportunity to witness history in the making. Literally. By installing webcams in its Jet Propulsion Lab Facility in Pasadena, California, we can watch the assembly process 24/7 from start to finish.
Viewers can also participate in live web chats with the engineers through JPL’s social media team if they want to talk about the mission or ask any questions they may have. Chats are open at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. PDT, Monday through Thursday.
Propulsion Laboratory, CalTech (JPL), released a statement saying, “It is great that we can share this part of our journey to the Red Planet with the public anytime they want.” You can watch the stream whenever, wherever on Youtube by clicking or tapping here.
If all goes as planned between now and July 2020, the rover should touch down on Mars by February 18, 2021. Where will you be?