You Don’t Have to Go to Mars to See the Perseverance Rover — Kennedy Space Center Has an Exact Replica

Though the rover won't make it to Mars until 2021, you can see replicas on Earth right now.

Mars rover replica
Photo: Kennedy Space Center

After the successful launch of the Perseverance Rover and Ingenuity helicopter to Mars in July, there is a new way to explore these revolutionary spacecraft right here on Earth.

The Kennedy Space Center recently unveiled two life-sized replicas of the Perseverance Rover and Ingenuity helicopter in its Journey to Mars: Explorers Wanted exhibit at the Visitor Complex.

The Perseverance Rover and Ingenuity Helicopter successfully launched on July 30 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and are expected to reach Mars in February 2021. The top priorities of this un-manned mission is to examine Mars for its habitability and to look for former signs of ancient life by collecting samples from rocks and soil. The rover is expected to land on Mars’ Jezero crater, which was once a lake, according to scientists at NASA.

“The mission also provides opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars,” according to the mission overview on the NASA website.

While we still need to wait six months before the rover and helicopter get started on their mission, we can still explore how the crafts will be doing their job on the Red Planet. The replicas will join other recreations of the rest of the Mars Rover family, including the Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity Rovers.

At the visitor complex, guests will also have the opportunity to check out MRVN (Mars Rover Vehicle Navigator), which is a Mars Rover concept vehicle developed by Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex via NASA science and engineering. MRVN is meant to be a prototype for high-tech mobile laboratories that space explorers may use in the future, according to the Kennedy Space Center website.

In addition to the rovers exhibits, guests can also take advantage of other activities at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, including the Rocket Garden, Space Shuttle Atlantis, and Shuttle Launch Experience. The Kennedy Space Center is also complying with safety and sanitation guidelines in response to coronavirus, so the complex is a safe space for all. The complex encourages reserving a spot ahead of time, since it is open to limited crowds. Face coverings and social distancing is mandatory for all guests. More information on the new coronavirus guidelines can be found online.

For more information about the real-life replicas of Perseverance and Ingenuity, visit the Journey to Mars: Explorers Wanted page on the Kennedy Space Center website.

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