NASA To Send Next Mars Rover In July 2020 To Search For Ancient Life

As a part of its Mars exploration program, the US space agency NASA will send a new rover to the Red Planet. Currently, Curiosity is the only active rover on the planet. The agency has planned to launch Mars 2020 in July next year. It will touch down Jezero crater on the planet in February 2021. The new rover has been built by Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. It will explore the planet further and search for past life there. The rover is said to be quite similar to Curiosity. The body of Mars 2020 is, however, longer by five inches than Curiosity. The arm of Mars 2020 has the same reach as Curiosity.

The weight of Mars 2020’s turret is more than Curiosity. The rover overall weighs 2,260 pounds while Curiosity has a mass of 1982 pounds. This is because Mars 2020 carries larger tools. It has a larger drill for coring. The rover will cut rock cores. Earlier, Curiosity was able to only pulverizing them. Mars 2020 will also be able to place the rocks and soil in sample tubes. The scientists have incorporated a complex storage system in the rover. Mars 2020 has 23 cameras. Most of them are color cameras. The rover also has two microphones to capture the sounds of wind and landing. The wheels are made from the same materials as Curiosity’s.

Also, Mars 2020 can calculate a path five times faster than Curiosity. NASA said Mars 2020 will look for actual signs of ancient life on Red Planet with the help of advanced equipment. They believe data collected by the rover will be vital for future missions. The diameter of the Jezero crater where Mars 2020 will land is approximately 49 km. It is believed that the carter was once flooded with water. According to scientists, clays in the carter contain a fan-delta. The space agency is aiming for human missions to the Red Planet in the 2030s.