NASA's moon plans may be under stress, but the space agency has a pretty clear vision for its next Mars mission. The Mars 2020 rover is in the assembly stage at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, and you can be a fly on the wall of the clean room.
NASA launched a live webcam stream this week showing the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at JPL. It's full of testing equipment, Mars rover components and engineers wearing full-body clean room outfits known as "bunny suits."
"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," NASA said.
The rover won't launch on its journey until mid-2020 at the earliest. The assembly and testing stage is expected to take months. When it's ready, the rover will travel to the launch site at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
If all goes well, the Mars 2020 rover will arrive at the red planet in early 2021 to look for signs of past microbial life and collect rock and soil samples. But the destination is just part of the journey. In the meantime, you can watch as a new Mars rover is born.
NASA Opportunity rover witnessed the wild side of Mars