Despite the current coronavirus pandemic, NASA currently has no plans to delay the launch of its Perseverance rover to Mars.
He said he recently changed the name of the rover to Perseverance, it will launch the rover on July 17, 2020. This rover will attempt to detect if there is any fossilized evidence of extraterrestrial beings, in addition to other tasks.
"We are proactively monitoring the coronavirus situation (COVID-19), and have plans in place to address the issues as they arise," NASA spokesman Allard Beutel said in an email to Fox News.
"Currently, the coronavirus has not affected the launch preparations of the Mars Perseverance rover, and work continues on schedule."
The announcement of the American space agency
It comes after the European Space Agency and the Russian space agency Roscosmos said they would support their next ExoMars mission, which was also scheduled for July 2020.
Agencies said the decision to postpone the launch of the Rosalind Franklin rover was made in part due to additional evidence and concerns that the new coronavirus could affect the availability of personnel needed to operate and maintain the rover.
"We have made a difficult but well-considered decision to postpone launch to 2022," Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin said in a statement.
"It is driven mainly by the need to maximize the robustness of all ExoMars systems, as well as by force majeure circumstances related to the exacerbation of the epidemiological situation in Europe, which left our experts with virtually no possibility of continuing to travel to the associated industries ».
Although there are no current plans
To delay the mission of the Perseverance rover, which is expected to land on the Martian surface on February 18, 2021, NASA is also grappling with plans altered due to COVID-19.
Earlier this week, NASA updated its work plans from home after an employee at NASA's Ames Research Center tested positive for the virus.
The Ames Research Center remains on mandatory telework and restricted access until at least March 13.
He added that "All work-related trips are canceled during the week of March 9, and future trips will be reviewed on an individual basis."
"NASA is coordinating with the White House, the State Department and other federal agencies and officials, and has formed an internal multi-office working group that will address issues as they arise," Beutel added in the email, stating that the space agency will
"Follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the agency's Medical and Health Director, and communicate that guidance to your workforce when available."
Once Perseverance lands on Mars
It will join the Curiosity rover that is still working and the now deceased Opportunity rover on the Red Planet. Unlike Curiosity or Opportunity, this rover will carry the "First helicopter to fly on another planet", NASA added.
NASA's long-term goal is to send a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s.
COVID-19 has infected 145,405 people worldwide, and 5,432 have died from the virus.