The National Space Centre is giving you the chance to be a part of an incredible mission into space.
This Thursday, July 30, you’ll be able to watch the live launch of NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover, Perseverance, as it sets off for the Red Planet.
Plus, you’ll be able to join in a live Q&A session with Professor Anu Ojha, director of the National Space Academy.
The Mars 2020 team is currently working hard to get the Perseverance rover to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
On Thursday, you’ll be able to see the launch of the mighty Atlas V-541 rocket – one of the largest rockets available for interplanetary flight – with its precious payload on its way to Mars.
NASA’s Mars 2020 rover is the third mission to the Red Planet to launch this summer, dubbed the ‘Summer of Mars’, following the launches of the UAE’s Hope Mars Mission and China’s Tianwen-1.
Perseverance’s mission is part of NASA’s long-duration programme of Mars robotic exploration, aiming to learn more about both the Red Planet and in turn help us understand our own planet, Earth.
The Mars 2020 rover will be the size of an average car and will follow in the wheel tracks of the Curiosity rover by searching for signs of ancient microbial life under the surface of Mars.
The rover will collect and analyse promising core samples, but it will also store them for future missions that could potentially return to them Earth.
Mars 2020 will also test a technique of producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, preparing for future human exploration. This will be done by demonstrating key technologies that will extract the little oxygen that’s already on Mars.
Living off the natural resources of Mars is essential for future human missions to Mars and this key test will help pave the way.
The Q&A with Professor Anu Ojha will be hosted on the National Space Centre’s Facebook page from 12.30 – 13.30 BST and will be followed by the live stream of the launch of Perseverance to the Red Planet.
If you’ve got a question, you can ask it in advance on the Facebook event page or via the visitor attraction’s social media channels.
Anu is one of the leading space experts in the UK, and as well as being director of the National Space Academy, is honorary professor at the University of Leicester, sits on the Human Spaceflight and Exploration Science Advisory Committee for the European Space Agency and is a member of the Space Exploration Advisory Committee for the UK Space Agency.
To watch, simply go to the National Space Centre’s Facebook page at 12.30pm on Thursday, July 30 (subject to change).