T-Minus One Year Until Launch Window for Mars 2020 Mission Opens

Exactly one year from now, the launch window for the 2020 Mars mission opens, clearing the way for what is likely to become humanity’s most important trip to the Red Planet. The opening of this window however doesn’t necessarily mean the launch will take place in July 2020.
Mars 2020 rover one year away from launch 1 photo
Photo: NASA
A launch window is the period of time during which the target celestial body is at its closest approach to Earth, hence a minimum of energy is needed to reach it. In the case of Mars, the launch window opens every two years or so.

The previous window, which opened In May 2018, saw the launch of the InSight mission. In 2020, the Mars mission can depart at any time in the interval July 17 – August 5, depending on the weather and other factors.
Regardless of the launch date, NASA targets a landing in the Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021.

"Back when we started this project in 2013, we came up with a timeline to chart mission progress," said about the mission launch readiness John McNamee, Mars 2020 project manager.

"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."

The mission is meant to land on Mars a brand new rover that is tasked with never-before-attempted experiments: the generation of oxygen, the search for signs of life and the preparation of samples to be picked up and sent to Earth by a subsequent mission.

The rover is 10 feet long (3 meters), 9 feet wide (2.7 meters), and 7 feet tall (2.2 meters), bigger than any of the vehicles deployed there so far.

It is next year's launch, alongside the planned trip to the Moon in 2024, that will form the basis for NASA's announced plans to send a human crew to the Red Planet.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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