NASA's next launch 'Mars rover Perseverance mission' has been delayed to July 22 due to a contamination concern with ground support equipment, the space agency said informed on Wednesday. NASA's next mission to the red planet was scheduled to launch on July 20 from a pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. However, a problem occurred as engineers worked to encapsulate the rover in the nosecone of its Atlas V rocket, which was built by the United Launch Alliance.
"NASA and United Launch Alliance are now targeting Wednesday, July 22, for the launch of the Mars 2020 mission due to a processing delay encountered during encapsulation activities of the spacecraft. Additional time was needed to resolve a contamination concern in the ground support lines in NASA's Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF)", NASA officials said in a statement.
The Mars rover mission was originally scheduled to launch July 17 but deferred ahead to three days to July 20 due to a ground system equipment issue that involved a faulty crane. The new contamination issue marks the second delay for the Mars rover Perseverance.
The space agency has time till August to launch the Perseverance rover to Mars in order to reach the Red Planet in February 2021. If NASA doesn't make this launch window, the agency will have to wait another 26 months which is until 2022, when the orbits of Mars and Earth will once again be aligned for such a mission.
During NASA's Mars Exploration mission, the scientist will be searching for signs of 'past microbial life' apart from seeking signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past. The Mars Perseverance rover introduces a drill that can collect core samples of the most promising rocks and soils and set them aside in a "cache" on the surface of Mars.