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NASA's Rover hits March 2020 in Red Planet's vacuum chamber for survival testing



NASA's Mars 2020 rover was moved into a vacuum chamber and tested under Mars-like environmental conditions to prepare for its launch to Red Planet next summer.

A new time lapse video shows engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, moving the rover into the chamber on October 9. NASA moved the spaceship from a high bay in the spacecraft builder to the plant's large vacuum chamber, according to a statement from the agency.

"Moving the rover is a big deal," said Chris Chatellier, a Mars 2020 engineer at JPL, in the statement . "There is a technician in every corner, and other engineers and security inspectors monitor and assist every step of the way. Every move is choreographed, informed and repeated."

Related: NASA's Mars Rover 2020 Mission in Pictures

This timed video, taken October 9, 2019, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, captures the move of the Mars 2020 rover to a large vacuum chamber for testing in Mars-like environmental conditions [19659009] (Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech)

After the rover was tested in the vacuum chamber, it was moved back to JPL's spacecraft facility and the engineers began testing radio emissions on the spaceship, according to the statement.

Rover is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in July 2020. March 2020 will land inside Red Planet's Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021, where it will search after signs of inhabitable environments and evidence of past microbial life.

Testing the rover in a Mars-like environment helps prepare the Mars 2020 operations team for the mission. In August, a NASA-funded project called SAND-E (Semi-Autonomous Navigation for Detrital Environments) tested Martian rover and drone prototypes on lava field in Iceland to simulate the difficult terrain that spaceships will encounter on Red Planet.

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