NASA is gearing up to proceed with the final design, development, and construction of its upcoming Mars rover mission scheduled to launch in 2020. The vehicle will analyze the existence of past life on the red planet, human presence and also prepare for the future manned missions after 2020.
According to reports, the Mars rover will study a particular region of Mars where the ancient environment may have been congenial for microbial life. Even though the mission is planned for 2020, the satellite will arrive on the planet in February 2021. Moreover, the Mars rover will collect samples of soil and rock and hand over them to a future mission deputed for the Earth.
Responding to media queries, Geoffrey Yoder, Scientist, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate disclosed that the Mars 2020 rover is the first step in the right direction. It will fulfill a potential multi-mission campaign in such a way that it returns the required and sealed samples of Martian rocks and soil to Earth for research purpose.
The upcoming Mars rover mission will be a significant milestone in NASA’s journey to Mars since the mission deeply studies the existence of whether life existed on Mars. Moreover, it will also advance the organization’s goal of sending humans to the Red planet.
To reduce potential risk and also to reduce costs, the 2020 Mars rover mission will be a six-wheeled, one-tonne predecessor, Curiosity. However, it will have an array of new science instruments and improvements to navigate and explore Mars.
Before NASA ventures into the human mission, the Mars rover mission is employed to conduct an initial study into the availability of Martian resources which includes Oxygen. We expect that there will be specialized sensors which will trigger when the rover detects the presence of Oxygen.
The samples collected from the Mars rover mission will be analyzed by laboratories on Earth to decide the existence of past life on Mars. Moreover, the samples can also be used to identify possible health hazards so that human missions can be carried out by adopting stringent safety measures.
In the meantime, NASA is working hard to integrate two science instruments on the rover’s robotic arm, which will identify the signs of past life. It will also decide the relevant places from where the mission should collect samples by analyzing all the parameters of Martian rocks.
Technology wise, the Mars rover mission will carry an array of cameras and a microphone to capture images and sounds of the entry, descent and landing sequence.