NASA’s Mars 2020 rover is scheduled to launch next summer and land in Mars’ Yezello crater in February 2021, where the six-wheeled robot will search for possible “traces” of life, SpaceX reported Tuesday. “Mars 2020” project deputy chief scientist Katie Stark Morgan 10 at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting in the fall, said the Jezelo crater is 45 kilometers wide, was an ancient lake bed, filled with water, Mars life or has been breeding here.
Mars 2020 will search for possible biological features in the crater, including looking at the fine structure of the rocks in the crater, and using multiple spectrometers to accurately link geochemical features to the structure. And its predecessor, NASA’s Curiosity rover, could do nothing about it. Curiosity can image rocks with the same level of detail as Mars 2020, but cannot associate geochemistry with the structure under observation.
“Our understanding of the biological features in the rock record is that it is a combination of structural and geochemical features, and it does provide strong evidence of biological features,” Stark Morgan said. “
The core mission of Mars 2020 is to collect and store 20 to 30 drilling samples that will be brought back to Earth by the Mars Sample Return mission jointly carried out by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). IN ADDITION, ESA IS DEVELOPING A MARS ROVER TO EXPLORE LIFE ON MARS, CALLED ROSALIND FRANKLIN, AND IS SCHEDULED TO LAUNCH NEXT SUMMER AS PART OF ESA’S JOINT MARS SPACE LIFE PROGRAM WITH THE RUSSIAN FEDERAL SPACE AGENCY.
The search for life on Mars is not the only mission of Mars 2020. Stark Morgan says the analysis of data collected by the rover could also help better understand how rocky planets evolved. NASA plans to send astronauts to Mars in the 1930s, and the equipment on Mars 2020 could provide key information for the mission.
Mars 2020 is expected to deliver seven scientific instruments and 23 cameras to Mars, including geodesic radars that can search for sediments in groundwater ice and salt water, and a device that can produce oxygen from the atmosphere of Mars, which is dominated by carbon dioxide. It will also carry a small helicopter.