Perseverance launched July 30, 2020, enroute to Jezero Crater, Mars. Perseverance features a plutonium power source and a variety of instruments to aid the rover in its mission to seek signs of previous life on Mars, as well as collect data to further aid future manned missions there.
Ingenuity, the 4 pound helicopter that was launched with Perseverance, features four specially made carbon-fiber blades, arranged into two rotors that spin in opposite directions at around 2,400 rpm – many times faster than a helicopter on Earth. It is a separate experiment from the rover and is intended to demonstrate technologies needed for flying in the Martian atmosphere.
Is the fourth operational and the second-to-last Space Shuttle built. Atlantis lifted off on its maiden voyage on October 3rd 1985 and became the first Space Shuttle to launch an interplanetary probe to Venus in 1989.
Was the third NASA orbiter to be built. It first launched August 30, 1984 and remained in service for more than 27 years. Among its many accomplishments was the work done on the International Space Station and carrying the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit.
InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is a robotic lander designed to study the deep interior of the planet Mars. InSight launched on May 5, 2018 and successfully landed on Mars on Nov. 26, 2018.
Its finding are expected to shed light on the processes responsible for the formation of Mars, Earth, and even rocky exoplanets more than 4 billion years ago.
The Apollo 11 moon landing required two spacecraft- The lunar module (LM) and command service module (CSM). Once in lunar orbit, the two would separate so the LM could land while the CSM waited in orbit. After launching from the lunar surface, the LM’s ascent stage would rendezvous and dock with the waiting CSM, then the astronauts would transfer back into the main spacecraft and head home. It sounds nearly impossible but that’s the way it was July 20, 1969.