A new video released by NASA takes us behind the scenes of the Mars 2020 mission.
Countdown to Mars: A Tale of Perseverance (below) follows events in the four days leading up to the start of the ambitious Cape Canaveral mission in Florida on July 30, 2020.
In it, we see NASA chief Jim Bridenstine and other space agency staff discuss the goals of the mission in which Perseverance (NASA's most advanced rover to date) and Ingenuity (the first aircraft to fly on another planet) are running a series of scientific research on the surface of Mars when they arrive in February 2021.
The content also includes a peek into the lab of Moogega Cooper, the lead engineer at Perseverance Planetary Protection, where she explains the meticulous steps that are being taken to ensure we don't contaminate Mars with bacteria from Earth.
"This is really what we want to prevent," Bridenstine tells Cooper. "Protecting the planets is about keeping science as pure as possible so that when we discover something, we know that it is actually a discovery."
The video, which is full of moving statements and bold visions for future space travel, also includes some interesting details, such as a closer look at a replica of the tube that is holding the Martian soil samples collected by Perseverance as part of an effort to find evidence for the old life on the planet. The tubes containing the samples will be set aside on Mars and later collected by another 2026 mission that will attempt to return the Mars material to Earth for scientific analysis.
"If you look at the team that put this robot together and the team that put this launcher together, they did. They persevered." See administrator @JimBridenstine take you behind the scenes of our #CountdownToMars. Full video: https://t.co/nHl1gK7ZP3 pic.twitter.com/I85NEsCu8M
– NASA (@NASA) September 14, 2020
There's also a lot of excited talk about how the Mars 2020 mission paves the way for human exploration of Mars, and it's also a remarkable step towards the ultimate goal of making humans a multi-planetary species.
The second half of the video focuses on the upcoming liftoff of the United Launch Alliance's powerful Atlas V rocket. You will also get to know the two students Alex Mather and Vaneeza Rupani, who won the competition for the name Mars Rover and Helicopter, who were allowed to watch the launch live as part of the award.