NASA's next Mars rover is locked and loaded for this summer's launch

The space agency shared images of the Atlas V rocket's nose cone at the Kennedy Space Center, inside which Perseverance sits waiting for launch.


Perseverance, NASA's next Mars explorer, will soon launch on a mission in search of signs that microbial life once existed on the red planet. Following delays that forced the space agency to push back the date of liftoff, the Atlas V rocket carrying the new rover is slated to disembark between July 30 and Aug. 15.


And all the pieces are beginning to fall into place.

As of this week, the rover is officially attached to its ride and sits encased in the enormous nose cone of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V booster at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.