Mars 2020 is the new rover designed to explore the surface of the red planet. It is being developed by NASA’s Mars exploration program and is destined for the red planet in 2020. It is expected to launch in July of 2020 and will touch down in Jezero Crater in February of 2021. The goal of the new rover is to explore signs of habitability on our closest neighboring planet.
Mars 2020 Design
The rover is designed to withstand the harsh surface of Mars and has updated capabilities that previous rovers lack. The Mars 2020 rover is based on the previous designs from the 2012 Curiosity project which has been a major player in learning about Mars.
The landing site, Jezero Crater, has been selected due to its history as a massive lake bed. Between 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago, Jezero was an 800-foot deep lake. The lake itself can supply information as to any microbiology or any once-living nano-organism. The sediments are projected to sustain any fossil structures for billions of years.
What is Different from Curiosity
A big separator between new and old is the size and structure. The Mars 2020 rover will be almost double the size of the Curiosity. The wheels will also be larger and more robust in order to allow for a longer time researching the planet.
How Will It Get To Mars?
The new rover will be launched via an Atlas V-541 rocket. This same rocket was used with the previous rover launch. Once in space, the rover is expected to continue its trajectory for 8-months. Once It reaches the red planet, it will detach the rover. The rover will then free-fall, guided by a parachute, to the surface. Just before landing, smaller rockets will ignite and slow the descent speed to an almost dead stop.
The rover will collect 31 rock samples from the surface. These samples will provide firm information in regards to any possible life or prospecting life on Mars. The goal is to further our understanding of the history of the planet as well as find ways for Humanity to colonize.