CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Thunderstorms prompted NASA to postpone the launch of the first of its two Mars rovers yesterday - the second delay in two days.
The National Aeronautics and Space administration will try again today with a launch scheduled for 1:58 p.m. at the earliest.
The weather outlook is "significantly improved," said Kennedy Space Center spokesman George Diller.
The $800 million twin Mars Exploration Rovers are to reach Mars in January and begin a search for evidence of water on the planet's distant past.
The second rover is to launch after midnight June 25, when temperatures and the chance of thunderstorms are lower. The times are set by determining the most efficient path for the spacecraft to reach Mars, said mission manager Pete Theisinger of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
If they survive their journey and rough air-bag landing, the two rovers will roam across the surface, analyzing and grinding open rocks to gather data.
Usha Lee McFarling writes for the Los Angeles Times, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.