US space agency Nasa is all set to launch the next-generation Perseverance rover from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on its ambitious mission to Mars.

Built to deploy a mini helicopter, the six-wheeled robot will be launched aboard the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

The Perseverance rover is expected to land at the base of a 250m crater called Jezero next February.

Jezero was earlier a lake 3.5 billion years ago and scientists believe that it may hold traces of potential microbian life.

Last week, Nasa announced that the Perseverance rover cleared its flight readiness review, marking a key milestone in preparation to its launch.

Reuters quoted Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine as saying: “This is unlike any robot that we’ve sent to Mars before because it has the purpose of astrobiology.

“We know that we’re going to make discoveries with the Mars Perseverance rover that are going to make us ask a whole lot more questions, just like every previous discovery.”

The Perseverance rover mission is part of Nasa’s larger Moon to Mars exploration approach as it prepares to land humans on Mars.

The rover will study the possibility of converting the carbon dioxide-rich Martian atmosphere elements into propellant to facilitate future rockets launching from the planet’s surface.

The US plans to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030s under Artemis programme.

The $2.4bn mission is scheduled for liftoff from Cape Canaveral at 11:50am GMT today.

Earlier this month, UAE successfully launched the country’s first interplanetary spacecraft called Hope on a Mitsubishi H-IIA booster from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan.

Last month, China launched the last satellite in its BeiDou navigation system from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan Province.