Three Mars Things: China, the UAE and the US All Heading There In July

NASA Perseverance rover's search for life on Mars: What you need ...

Mars Rover Perseverance          Image: NASA

By the end of July, three countries are sending rockets carrying robots to Mars. For the U.S., its old hat — been there, done that 5 times, but for China and the United Arab Emirates, it’s their maiden voyage.   Why three launches so close together?  Because Mars passes close to the Earth in its orbit, and the next time the red planet will be this close is 2022.  Russia and the EU will go the next time around — they both delayed their launches due to COVID.  Our Rover, which is named Perseverance, will land on Mars on February 21, 2021.  The name — chosen back in March after a contest among schoolkids — seems particularly apt in hindsight.

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