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Mars 2020 mission: Scintillating pictures of NASA's Rover that would land on Red Planet

By Vishal S
|

New Delhi, Oct 31: NASA is taking its Mars exploration endeavour to next level and the next venture is called Mars 2020 mission. This is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program which is a long term effort that has many scientific goals including key questions about the potential for life on Mars.

The Mars 2020 mission involves landing rover called - The Mars 2020 rover - on the red planet. It is going to be an extremely advanced rover. NASA describes it as "In some sense, the rover parts are similar to what any living creature would need to keep it "alive" and able to explore."

The Mars 2020 rover introduces a drill that can collect core samples of the most promising rocks and soils and set them aside in a "cache" on the surface of Mars. A future mission could potentially return these samples to Earth. That would help scientists study the samples in laboratories with special room-sized equipment that would be too large to take to Mars. (Courtesy - www.nasa.gov.in/ www.mars.nasa.gov/mars2020)

The mission is timed for a launch opportunity in July 2020 when Earth and Mars are in good positions relative to each other for landing on Mars.

Dazzling images of NASA's Mars 2020 rover:

Mars 2020 rover

Mars 2020 rover

Mars 2020 rover is car-sized, about 10 feet long (not including the arm), 9 feet wide, and 7 feet tall (about 3 meters long, 2.7 meters wide, and 2.2 meters tall). But at 2,314 pounds (1,050 kilograms), it weighs less than a compact car. The Mars 2020 rover design is largely based on the engineering design for Mars rover Curiosity. This reliance on a proven system reduces mission costs and risks. The rover's long-range mobility system allows it to travel on the surface of Mars over a distance of 3 to 12 miles (5 to 20 kilometres). The rover has a new, more capable wheel design, among other improvements. For the first time, the rover carries a drill for coring samples from Martian rocks and soil. (Image and text courtesy - www.nasa.gov.in)

Basic design based on NASA rover Curiosity

Basic design based on NASA rover Curiosity

Planning for NASA's 2020 Mars rover envisions a basic structure that capitalizes on the design and engineering work done for the NASA rover Curiosity, which landed on Mars in 2012, but with new science instruments selected through competition for accomplishing different science objectives.

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The Mars 2020 rover helps prepare for future human exploration of Mars with a technology for extracting oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, which is 96 percent carbon dioxide. This demonstration of new technology helps mission planners test ways of using Mars' natural resources to support human explorers and improve designs for life support, transportation, and other important systems for living and working on Mars. (Image and text courtesy - www.nasa.gov.in)

NASA's rover design is improving by leaps and bounds with every single mission

NASA's rover design is improving by leaps and bounds with every single mission

The mission provides opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars. These include testing a method for producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, identifying other resources (such as subsurface water), improving landing techniques, and characterizing weather, dust, and other potential environmental conditions that could affect future astronauts living and working on Mars. (Image and text courtesy - www.nasa.gov.in)

NASA's Mars 2020 rover payload

NASA's Mars 2020 rover payload

An artist concept image of where seven carefully-selected instruments will be located on NASA's Mars 2020 rover. The instruments will conduct unprecedented science and exploration technology investigations on the Red Planet as never before.

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Science instruments are state-of-the-art tools for acquiring information about Martian geology, atmosphere, environmental conditions, and potential biosignatures. (Image and text courtesy - www.nasa.gov.in)

NASA's Mars 2020 Rover Tests Descent-Stage Separation

NASA's Mars 2020 Rover Tests Descent-Stage Separation

In this picture from Sept. 28, 2019, engineers and technicians working on the Mars 2020 spacecraft at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, look on as a crane lifts the rocket-powered descent stage away from the rover after a test. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltec).

The surface operations phase is the time when the rover conducts its scientific studies on Mars. After landing safely (Feb. 18, 2021), Mars 2020 has a primary mission span of at least one Martian year (687 Earth days). The Mars 2020 rover uses a depot caching strategy for its exploration of Mars.

(Images and information courtesy - www.nasa.gov.in / www.mars.nasa.gov/mars2020)

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