It's been just a week since the launch of NASA's Perseverance Mars rover aboard the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. While it will take another 7 months to reach Mars, a weather satellite and a robotic telescope have captured interesting glimpses of its launch.
The satellite GOES 16 spotted the smoke plume released after the rover's launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida on 30 July.
On its alternate water vapour channel, the launch appeared as a red streak. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which operates the mission along with NASA, shared both the white plume image and the red streak via its Twitter account soon after the launch.
The post said that the satellite had used its "visible band" to zoom in on Cape Canaveral to capture the smoke plume.
SATELLITE SPOTLIGHT: @NOAA's #GOES16ï¸ used its visible band to zoom in on #CapeCanaveral, FL and catch the smoke plume from today's launch of NASA's #Perseverance rover to #Mars. #NASA expects the voyage to take about 7 months. #CountdownToMars pic.twitter.com/XZQqVACIA2
" NOAA Satellites - Public Affairs (@NOAASatellitePA) July 30, 2020
The other post wished Perseverance safe travel and mentioned that the short lasting red streak is in fact the rover.
Today, @NOAA's #GOESEast satellite captured the launch of #NASA's #Perseverance #Mars rover from #CapeCanaveral (quick red streak) via its water vapor channel. Safe travels!#CountdownToMars #Mars2020 pic.twitter.com/VwpSW5AKqp
" NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) July 30, 2020
The weather satellite GOES 16 is positioned above the United States in order to monitor the terrestrial and space weather from geosynchronous orbit, reported Space.com. It is often referred to as GOES East because of its geostationary positioning.
As the Atlas V rocket was used to launch the car-sized rover, scientists had built two stages for successful lift off. But the first stage was designed to fall back to Earth after spending its fuel and burn upon its re-entry.
The whole sequence took place correctly and was captured by the Virtual Telescope Project. The robotic telescope is managed by Gianluca Masi in Italy.