WASHINGTON: NASA's Perseverance Mars rover is set to launch on July 20, according to a NASA press statement.
It will be the ninth NASA spacecraft visiting the Red Planet's surface, and the first that includes gathering Mars samples for future return to Earth.
The rover's astrobiology mission will seek signs of past microscopic life on Mars, explore the geology of the Jezero Crater landing site, and demonstrate key technologies to help prepare for future robotic and human exploration, according to NASA.
The rover will collect the first samples of Martian rock and regolith for return to Earth by a set of future missions, said NASA.
The Mars 2020 mission is part of NASA's larger program that includes missions to the moon as a way to prepare for the human exploration of the Red Planet.
Charged with returning astronauts to the moon by 2024, NASA will establish a sustained human presence on and around the moon by 2028 through its Artemis lunar exploration plans. (Courtesy: Xinhua)