NASA has approved the project and starts the construction of the Mars Rover 2020, which is going to explore the surface of Mars, where the aliens might be settled or used to be before. It will also collect the samples of soil and rock caching them on the surface for potential return to Earth as a possible future mission.
The agency is finally ready to proceed the final design of the vehicle after thorough investigation and review process. The vehicle is supposed to be launched in the summer of 2020 and by February 2021 it should already arrive to the Red Planet.
According to Geoffrey Yoder, the Mars 2020 rover is the first step in the mission of bringing safely the samples of Martian rocks to Earth. The main goal of the project is to find out if life has ever existed on Mars and later on to send the humans to the Red Planet.
In order to reduce the risk and actually save as well, the 2020 rover will look like a six wheeled, one ton predecessor Curiosity, but the distinctive feature will include new science instruments and improvements for exploring Mars like it never happened before. For example, the rover will make a thorough investigation on the usability and availability of Martian resources, such as oxygen which will be the next step to prepare for human missions. The samples of the Martian rocks will be gathered thanks to a new subsystem implemented on Mars 2020, such as a coring drill on its arm and a rack of sample tubes.
The laboratories on Earth are able to investigate the specimens from Mars, and can finally tell if there was a life before on Mars and what are the health hazards for potential future human missions on the Red Planet.
The rover will basically have the same landing system as Curiosity but will be also able to record a video and even a sound, thanks to the new Hi-resolution camera which will provide excellent quality pictures of Martian surface. With the new rover it will be possible to land closer to the specific science destination, plus along with camera and microphone, the never seen before images and sounds will be available. So it will be the first time, people will hear the actual sound of the Mars!
Even though the project has been approved for construction, it should first pass through certain stages of technical and programmatic reviews, more known as Key Decision Point in order to make the next step and proceed through the phases of development, before the actual launch.
So not in the far future, NASA will have a chance to see and hear Mars, find out if there was any alien life before and check the potential resources available on the planet, and the next huge mission will be sending the humans to the Red Planet.
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