Filipinos top signup for NASA's 'Send Your Name to Mars'

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"Yesterday's handsome launch of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover inspires scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs alike, to pursue, explore, and innovate through space activities for the benefit of all of Earth's inhabitants", said Ken Davidian, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of New Space: The Journal of Space Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

It soared into the sky from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 7:50am EDT (1150 GMT) under clear, sunny and warm conditions, carried by an Atlas 5 rocket from the Boeing-Lockheed joint venture United Launch Alliance.

The Perseverance rover's astrobiology mission is to seek out signs of past microscopic life on Mars, explore the diverse geology of its landing site, Jezero Crater, and demonstrate key technologies that will help us prepare for future robotic and human exploration.

Perseverance is due to land at the base of a 250m-deep crater called Jezero, site of a former lake and water system from 3.5 billion years ago that scientists suspect could bear evidence of potential past microbial life.

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Data indicate the spacecraft had entered a state known as safe mode, likely because a part of the spacecraft was a little colder than expected while Mars 2020 was in Earth's shadow.

According to an agency -Mars 2020, the space ship which was carrying NASA's new rover Perseverance to the Red planet Suddenly experienced technical difficulties and was temporarily running on essentials system only. In the first few hours after liftoff, retrieving precise location and positioning data from the spacecraft was hampered in a brief "communications issue", NASA officials said, involving the agency's global network of antennas used to communicate with its most distant probes. "About 290 million miles of them".

It is expected to land on the planet on February 18, 2021.

"With safe mode exit, the team is getting down to the business of interplanetary cruise", Mars 2020 Deputy Project Manager Matt Wallace of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement on Friday. Charged with returning astronauts to the Moon by 2024, NASA will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028 through NASA's Artemis program.

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