Engineers of NASA aerospace agency have started assembling a new rover, which will go to the Red Planet in July 2020 with the help of the Atlas-5 launch vehicle. A new rover will be assembled at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena. Tentatively, the process of assembling a new autonomous Martian scientific laboratory will take a year and a half.
“Details and equipment for the rover come not only from different cities in the United States, but from around the world,” commented David Gruel, the head of the assembly and testing of the JPL’s planter in the JPL, to Space.com.
The source notes that, in particular, several scientific instruments are manufactured in France, Norway and Spain.
One of the main tasks that will be put before the new rover Mars 2020 (the name, most likely, the working one, and the more suitable designation of the rover will most likely be after its assembly is completed), will consist in finding signs of life on our planetary neighbor.
As experts from NASA say, “the device will explore the geological structure of Mars, the composition of the atmosphere, evaluate the natural resources and threats that people may face during future expeditions to this planet.”
One of the scientific instruments of the new rover will be intended for obtaining oxygen from the atmosphere of Mars, consisting mainly of carbon dioxide. In addition, an autonomous Martian laboratory will collect soil and stones, which will be sent to Earth for future analysis in the future development of the planet.
The new rover will receive the dimensions of a small car. Its length will be about 3 meters (without taking into account the mechanical arm-manipulator), width – 2.7 meters, and height – 2.2 meters. At the same time, its weight will be about 1050 kilograms, which is about 150 kilograms more than the weight of “Kyuryoshiti”, who spent more than 2000 Earth days on Mars. By the way, when developing the Mars 2020 it was decided to borrow a lot of nodes and details from the latter.
The final choice of the landing site for the new NASA rover has not yet been made, but the most probable are the Jezerot crater, the Gusev crater and the northeastern part of the low shield volcano Greater Sirt.