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We’re now exactly one year away from NASA’s Mars 2020 launch

Published Jul 17th, 2019 5:29PM EDT
mars 2020
Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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This month is a very special one for the folks at NASA. The space agency is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, sure, but that’s not the only reason. You see, today, July 17th, 2019, is exactly one year away from the launch of the Mars 2020 mission, and things are rapidly beginning to take shape.

The mission will see the most advanced Mars rover ever built travel to the Red Planet and touch down in a location known as the Jezero Crater. There, the robot will depart the Mars 2020 lander and explore the Martian terrain, offering new clues about the planet’s history and perhaps even revealing whether or not Mars ever hosted life.

The Mars 2020 mission has been a long time coming. Huge projects like this take a long, long time to plan, develop, prototype, and build. In this case, it will have been over seven years since the Mars 2020 project began when the July 17th launch finally happens.

“Back when we started this project in 2013, we came up with a timeline to chart mission progress,” John McNamee, Mars 2020 project manager, said in a statement. “That every single major spacecraft component on a project with this level of innovation is synching right now with that timeline is a testament to the innovation and perseverance of a great team.”

As it’s done in the past, NASA is doing its best to help the public get involved with this latest trip to Mars. The space agency has launched a live webcam stream from Jet Propulsion Laboratory that lets you watch the scientist and engineers assemble the rover and its various components, and you can register now to get your name sent to the Red Planet along with the high-tech bot.