ibusinesslines.com December 09, 2018

NASA announces Mars 2020 rover landing site

22 November 2018, 09:14 | Justin Tyler

NASA Picks Landing Spot for 2020 Mars Rover

NASA officially announces landing site of Mars 2020 rover, and it’s incredibly interesting

The landing zone for the 2020 mission will be 50% smaller than the landing of NASA's Curiosity rover at Gale Crater in 21012.

The mission, scheduled to take place in July, will see NASA's latest rover land in the Jezero Crater, a giant "impact basin" just north of Mars' equator.

The site offers a "geologically rich terrain" featuring landforms that date back billions of years.

"Getting samples from this unique area will revolutionise how we think about Mars and its ability to harbour life", added Mr Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the agency's science mission directorate.

Even though the Red Planet is now cold and dry, the landing site, Jezero Crater, was filled with a 1,600-foot (500-meter) deep lake that opened to a network of rivers some 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago.

It will examine the planet for signs covering whether it was ever habitable and analyse the surface and beneath for ancient microbial life.

NASA officially announces landing site of Mars 2020 rover, and it’s incredibly interesting

The material carried into the delta from a large watershed may contain a wide variety of minerals from inside and outside the crater.

The technology: The geologic diversity that makes Jezero such an appealing landing site also makes landing there a huge technical challenge for engineers.

There are a number of factors that NASA had to consider while choosing a landing site. A huge river delta surrounds the crater and stretches for many miles in several directions. TRN will enable the "sky crane" descent stage, the rocket-powered system that carries the rover down to the surface, to avoid hazardous areas. 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.

Instead of having an analytical laboratory on board - like Curiosity has - Mars 2020 is created to look at rocks on a finer scale, seeing what biosignatures are preserved. Mars 2020 will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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