WATCH LIVE: New Webcam Offers Bird’s-Eye View of Progress On NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover

By  //  June 12, 2019

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ABOVE VIDEO: Watch live as NASA’s next rover, Mars 2020, is built and tested in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

(NASA) – A newly installed webcam offers the public a live, bird’s-eye view of NASA’s Mars 2020 rover as it takes shape at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

You can watch as JPL engineers and technicians assemble and test the rover before it embarks next year on one of the most technologically challenging interplanetary missions ever designed.

“There is so much happening and changing in the clean room, I come here every opportunity I get,” said Mars 2020 project manager John McNamee of JPL. “It is great that we can share this part of our journey to the Red Planet with the public anytime they want.”

Affectionately called “Seeing 2020,” the webcam provides the video feed (without audio) from a viewing gallery above the clean room floor.

You can also watch and participate in live webchats with members of JPL’s social media team and the Mars 2020 team as they answer questions from the public about the mission.

These “Seeing 2020” webchats will occur Mon.-Thu. at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. PDT (2 p.m. and 7 p.m. EDT), with additional moderated chats when special activities (like drive tests) occur.

Currently, work in the High Bay 1 clean room begins at 8 a.m. PDT (11 a.m. EDT) Mon.-Fri., much of it revolving around the rover. The back shell, descent stage and cruise stage have already been assembled and tested.

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The clean room may be or appear to be empty when assembly activity has shifted to other JPL facilities or when work on 2020 moves out of view of the camera to other parts of the clean room. The camera may also be turned off periodically for maintenance or technical issues.

Months of final assembly and testing lie ahead before the Mars 2020 rover is ready to ship to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch period begins July 17, 2020. Once the Mars 2020 rover arrives at Mars on Feb. 18, 2021, it will not only seek signs of ancient habitable conditions — and past microbial life — but collect rock and soil samples, storing them in sample tubes on the planet’s surface.

The Mars 2020 project at JPL manages rover development for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is responsible for launch management. Mars 2020 will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.