Where to land the NASA Mars 2020 rover? Scientists and engineers gathered at an August workshop to assess where best to land the Red Planet robot. Credit: NASA/JPL

Where to land the NASA Mars 2020 rover? Scientists and engineers gathered at an August workshop to assess where best to land the Red Planet robot.
Credit: NASA/JPL

 

Work is underway to develop NASA’s next nuclear-powered Mars rover. The Mars 2020 mission is largely based on the successful Mars Science Laboratory project that plopped down the Curiosity rover on the Red Planet in August 2012.

However, there are a variety of distinctions.

The Mars 2020 robot would explore a select site that’s geologically diverse, likely to have been habitable and seek out signs of past life.

But also on tap is for the rover to collect and stash Mars samples in tubes, then drop off the tubes at a depot. Those samples, years later, would be scooped up by a future “ship and shoot” robotic mission that flings the specimens back to Earth.

Comparative view of Curiosity rover and future Mars 2020 rover in terms of performance on the Red Planet. Credit: Trosper/NASA/JPL-Caltech

Comparative view of Curiosity rover and future Mars 2020 rover in terms of performance on the Red Planet.
Credit: Trosper/NASA/JPL-Caltech

Primary goal

A mix of rover specialists and landing site scientists met in early August at the second landing site workshop for the 2020 Mars rover mission.

The primary goal of the recent gathering was to pare down a large number of candidate landing sites that emerged from the first workshop. Future landing site meetings will eventually pick the winning exploration zone.

 

Mars rover specialists and landing site scientists met in early August at the second landing site workshop for the 2020 Mars rover mission. Credit: Leonard David

Mars rover specialists and landing site scientists met in early August at the second landing site workshop for the 2020 Mars rover mission.
Credit: Leonard David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on this meeting and what took place, go to my new story up on SPACE.com at:

NASA’s Next Nuclear-Powered Mars Rover: Building the Beast 

by Leonard David, Space.com’s Space Insider Columnist

August 27, 2015 05:05pm ET

NOTE:
Also, go to this earlier story about the meeting:
Where Will NASA’s 2020 Mars Rover Land?
by Leonard David, Space.com’s Space Insider Columnist
August 20, 2015 07:01am ET

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