It soared into the sky from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 7:50am EDT (1150 GMT) under clear, sunny and warm conditions, carried by an Atlas 5 rocket from the Boeing-Lockheed joint venture United Launch Alliance.
The craft is now said to have returned to its regular temperature, but safe mode has affected communications between the spacecraft and ground control, Business Insider reports. The issue was quickly resolved.More news: Ireland reports highest daily number of COVID-19 infections since May
Once the samples are on our home planet, scientists plan to conduct detailed chemical and physical analysis in laboratories around the world to look for signs of past life on Mars and perform many other studies beyond the capabilities of instruments delivered to Mars.
About seven cold, dark, unforgiving months of interplanetary space travel lay ahead for the mission - a fact never far from the mind of Mars 2020 project team."There is still a lot of road between us and Mars", said John McNamee, Mars 2020 project manager at JPL.
US Vice President Mike Pence wrote on Twitter: "Today is a great day for American leadership in space!"More news: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 smartphone: Release date
The mission - created to better understand the geology and climate of Mars and seek signs of ancient life on the Red Planet - will use the robotic scientist to collect and store a set of rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth by future Mars sample return missions. The thin Martian atmosphere - 99% less dense than Earth's - poses a challenge to Ingenuity, which was created to be light, with rotor blades that are larger and spin more quickly than needed for a helicopter of its mass on Earth. Two future missions now under consideration by NASA, in collaboration with ESA (European Space Agency), will work together to get the samples to an orbiter for return to Earth. Charged with sending the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024, NASA will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028 through NASA's Artemis program.More news: Taylor Swift changes Folklore album merchandise after copyright claims