NASA to Announce 2020 Mars Rover Landing Site on Monday

Mars 2020 rover rendering 1 photo
Photo: NASA
On Monday, November 19, the American Space Agency will be announcing the place it has selected as a landing site for its newest Martian rover, which will launch in 2020.
Until the official announcement is made, NASA’s list of possible landing sites was narrowed down to three choices: Columbia Hills inside Gusev crater, Jezero Crater, and NE Syrtis.

The 2020 Rover is perhaps the most important machine ever to be sent by NASA on the Red Planet. If anything, it will be the first man-made tool used to at least try terraforming an alien planet, albeit on a tiny scale. Using one of its instruments, the rover will produce oxygen from Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Mars 20202 rover is the first instrument deployed by humans to target long-term goals: it will look for signs of life, assess the habitability of the environment, track natural resources and hazards and even try to generate oxygen. It will also pick-up and store rock samples in canisters placed in strategic areas, for a future mission to pick them up and bring them to Earth.

Aside from that, the rover will be tasked with a set of missions never performed before, hence it will use never-before-used tools and instruments. NASA plans to determine the mineralogy of the Martian surface, detect and analyze chemical elements, and even look for signs of life at an organic level.

The rover is based on the same platform as the Curiosity and is the size of an average car, measuring 10 feet long (3 meters), 9 feet wide (2.7 meters), and 7 feet tall (2.2 meters). It comes equipped with six wheels.

NASA doesn’t yet have a name for the rover and will launch next a competition for students in grades K-12 with the goal of naming it.

The Mars 2020 mission will leave Earth in July or August 2020 and will arrive on Mars in February 2021.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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