NASA has revealed a new Mars rover design. The future mission received a launch and land date. It will take off from Earth by August 2020, and it’s going to reach the Red Planet in February 2021. The rover will start an expedition on Mars to search for signals of life and to gather data for the first manned mission to Mars.
The unnamed rover, temporarily called Mars 2020, looks very familiar. It’s based on the successful Curiosity rover which landed on Mars in 2012 and, besides minor glitches, has remained in good working condition for longer than expected. Even though Mars 2020 looks much like Curiosity, it has some special features under the hood.
Mars 2020 will feature better quality cameras and microphones and thicker wheels to keep it from breaking down like Curiosity did. It also has a new coring drill and a radar that can look below ground, to explore the hidden Martian underground.
Another important feature on Mars 2020 will be a device to analyze organic chemicals, which will look for signs of life and test the oxygen forming ability of the planet, for future colonization efforts.
The new rover will be able to broadcast the Martian sounds back on Earth. It’s probably going to be things like wind or storms, but still worth listening to. The new rover will have several microphones to capture the atmosphere on the Red Planet. We will witness the first sounds of Mars.
Previous missions to Mars had microphones, but they were never used. The cameras will allow the sophisticated Mars 2020 rover to take selfies. The rover will also be able to collect Martian soil, to analyze the atmosphere and to look for signs of life, or previous life on Mars.
The mission will last for two years. NASA only has a 30-day window period to launch this engineering marvel, in July 2020. If the rover is not ready by then, humanity will have to wait for another two years to launch.
Experts believe that Mars was probably the best planet with life supporting conditions outside Earth. Now, the planet is dry and cold, and it has radiations on the surface. This isn’t promising for forms of life similar to Earth’s.
Image Source – Wikipedia