NASA has finalized three spots for its much-awaited landing of another rover on Mars in July 2020 ahead of a planned manned mission two years later.
The three spots are — Notheast Syrtis, Jezero crater and Columbia Hills — all on Mars surface. The Northeast syrtis was already known on Mars and the Jezero crater was beleived to be once home to an ancient Martian lake while the third one is a home ancient hot spring.
NASA’s Mars 2020 mission aboard Atlas V 541 rocket will be launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in July 2020 with a rover that will conduct geological suitability, habitability and search for signs of ancient Martian life, besides looking for any hazards for future human explorers.
The new rover will be the third one on Mars after Curisoity 1 and 2 and it will collect samples for possible return to Earth by future missions. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is in-charge of operations of the Mars 2020 rover.
Unlike the previous curiosity Rover which had created a crater that took long to fill, the new NASA Rover will be a rocket-powered flying saucer-shaped test vehicle which was developed as part of Mars landing technology called the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project.
The 15-foot-wide, 7,000-pound vehicle has also undergone a “spin-table” test to test breakthrough technologies enabling large payloads to be safely landed on the surface of Mars.