NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will head off for the Red Planet next year. But like Voyager, Galileo and Cassini before it, the mission’s epic journey began in a “clean room” in California.
One of two ultra-sterile labs used for spacecraft assembly at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, the eggshell-white room was briefly and exceptionally opened to journalists Friday.
“We need to keep the hardware as pristine and as safe as possible until we get to Mars,” said David Gruel, operations manager for Mars 2020.
The Mars rover will collect samples on the planet in the search for traces of microbial life potentially dating back billions of years.