NASA is letting the world watch its next Mars rover come together.
The agency is streaming live video from a clean room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, where engineers are assembling and testing the 2020 Mars rover. You can find that feed (which does not feature any audio) in the window above, or directly from NASA here.
“There is so much happening and changing in the clean room, I come here every opportunity I get,” Mars 2020 project manager John McNamee, of JPL, said in a statement. “It is great that we can share this part of our journey to the Red Planet with the public anytime they want.”
The webcam, called “Seeing 2020,” is also streaming live webchats with members of the Mars 2020 and JPL social-media teams. These chats occur twice a day every Monday through Thursday, at 2 p.m. EDT and 7 p.m. EDT (1800 and 2300 GMT; 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. local California time).
Mars 2020 is scheduled to launch next July and land inside Mars’ Jezero Crater in February 2021. The rover will search for signs of long-dead life near its landing site, which harbored a river delta in the ancient past.
The six-wheeled robot will perform a variety of other science work as well. And it will snag and cache samples for eventual return to Earth, though the retrieval mission is not officially on NASA’s books yet.
Another life-hunting Mars rover will launch and land at about the same time as NASA’s robot — Rosalind Franklin, part of the European-Russian ExoMars program.
Mars 2020 will get a catchier moniker, by the way. NASA plans to hold a student naming contest for the robot, as it has done for previous Red Planet rovers.
Mike Wall’s book about the search for alien life, “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), is out now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.