Saluting medical teams from the Red Planet! NASA’s next Mars rover honours coronawarriors

By: |
Published: June 18, 2020 8:29 AM

With just another month until liftoff, the space agency on Wednesday revealed a commemorative plate attached to the rover, aptly named Perseverance.

Red Planet,nasa, nasa mars rover,coronavirus, COVID-19 Perseverance plate, coronawarriors, covid 19 pandemic, latest news on NASAThe rover team calls it the COVID-19 Perseverance plate, designed in the last couple months. (AP photo)

NASA’s next Mars rover is honouring all the medical workers on the front lines of the coronavirus battle around the world. With just another month until liftoff, the space agency on Wednesday revealed a commemorative plate attached to the rover, aptly named Perseverance.

The rover team calls it the COVID-19 Perseverance plate, designed in the last couple months. The black and white aluminum plate  3-by-5 inches (8-by-13 centimetres) shows planet Earth atop a staff entwined with a serpent, a symbol of the medical community. The path of the spacecraft also is depicted, with its origin from Cape Canaveral.

Health care workers were on front lines keeping us safe during launch preparations, said deputy project manager Matt Wallace of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

”They really inspired us, I think, through this period, and we hope that this plate and we hope that this mission in some small way can inspire them in return,” Wallace told reporters.

The rover’s name, Perseverance, has taken on added meaning the last few months, according to NASA officials. It’s hard enough preparing a spacecraft for Mars, but doing it in the middle of a pandemic made it even harder, Wallace said.

Additional work shifts were added to reduce the number of people working on the rover at any one time and ensure social distancing. Others had to work from home.

NASA is pressing ahead with a July 20 launch, even as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Florida.

This mission  to seek signs of past microbial life on Mars and collect rock and soil samples for eventual return to Earth is considered essential by the space agency.

If the rover isn’t launched by mid-August, it would need to wait until 2022 when Earth and Mars are back in proper alignment. A two-year delay could add another USD500 million to the nearly USD3 billion mission.

Unlike for SpaceX’s first astronaut launch late last month, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine isn’t urging the public to stay home and watch online to avoid crowds.

”It appears they didn’t listen to us,” Bridenstine said. ”So we’re asking people to follow all of the necessary guidelines to keep themselves safe and we’re trusting that they will”. Perseverance is one of three upcoming missions to Mars.

The United Arab Emirates and China also are preparing spacecraft for launch to the red planet by mid-August.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1Earthquake of 3.2 magnitude hits Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur
2Mumbai weather update: Heavy showers take break but moderate rains to continue — check full forecast
3What to do when lightning strikes: Check do’s and don’ts