NASA chooses next Mars landing site set to ‘REVOLUTIONISE’ knowledge of planet

NASA's Opportunity rover

In a press release, NASA announced the landing site for the upcoming Mars 2020 Rover mission. The unmanned probe has to leave Cape Canaveral in Florida in July 2020 with an Atlas-V launcher. The rover which is expected to land on February 18, 2021 will search for ancient life as well as collect soil samples from the Red Planet.

U.S. space agency NASA has found a suitable landing site for its Mars 2020 rover mission, which is scheduled to launch in July 2020.

"Getting samples from this unique area will revolutionise how we think about Mars and its ability to harbour life", he added.

Jezero Crater sits on an ancient river delta, just north of the Martian equator on the western edge of Isidis Planitia. Scientists say the site is ideal because of its terrain with landforms dating from as far as long as 3.6 billion years ago. These rocks include clays and carbonates that have hight potential to preserve signatures of past life. There are at least five different types of rock present and potentially a wide variety of minerals.

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The geologic diversity that makes Jezero so appealing to Mars 2020 scientists also makes it a challenge for the team's entry, descent and landing (EDL) engineers. Scientists have considered landing previous rovers on the site, but its landscape was not ideal. An important difference is and landing system module, the Sky Crane gently lowered Curiosity on a thin rope, the Mars 2020 improved and allows you to track potentially unsafe objects at the landing site, moving away from them. According to NASA, the Jezero Crater was once a river delta.

The body design of Mars 2020 rover is based heavily on the Curiosity rover that arrived on Mars in August 2012 and has been exploring Gale Crater since then. The team will continue their work to study the TRN system and future risks.

Choosing a landing site this early permits the rover drivers and science tasks group to upgrade their plans for investigating Jezero Crater once the rover is securely on the ground.

This image of the Jezero Crater delta combines information from two instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

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