Space

NASA announces new rover mission for Mars

The new Mars rover will borrow much from the rover Curiosity (Image: NASA)
The new Mars rover will borrow much from the rover Curiosity (Image: NASA)
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The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) orbiter (Image: NSA)
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The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) orbiter (Image: NSA)
The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander (Image: NASA)
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The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander (Image: NASA)
The new Mars rover will borrow much from the rover Curiosity (Image: NASA)
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The new Mars rover will borrow much from the rover Curiosity (Image: NASA)
The new Mars rover will borrow much from the rover Curiosity (Image: NASA)
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The new Mars rover will borrow much from the rover Curiosity (Image: NASA)

With Curiosity still rolling across the Red Planet, NASA has revealed it will be sending another rover to Mars in 2020. The announcement, which was made at the 2012 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco, also outlined the space agency’s plans for exploring Mars for the remainder of the decade.

The still unnamed rover will reuse much of the technology developed for the 4X4-size nuclear rover Curiosity, which is currently on a two year mission exploring Mars. This will allow NASA to both exploit the success of the current rover design as well as keeping down costs at a time when the U.S. Space program is facing budget cuts. Items from Curiosity that may be used in the new rover include the nuclear power unit, the robotic arm and the rocket-powered crane that delivered Curiosity to the surface of Mars.

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) orbiter (Image: NSA)
The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) orbiter (Image: NSA)

Other Mars missions announced by NASA include the continuing of the Curiosity and Opportunity missions, the 2013 launch of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) orbiter intended to study the Martian atmosphere, the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander mission that will look into the deep interior of Mars, and participation in the European Space Agency’s (ESA) 2016 and 2018 ExoMars missions. This will bring the number of current and planned NASA Mars missions to seven.

NASA says that the next step for the 2020 rover mission will be to begin instrument selection and outlining of mission objectives.

Source: NASA

6 comments
Mark A
Fantastic accomplishment. Are there oil fields up there?
Rocky Stefano
The ONLY reason they're going to Mars is to see if there are an abundance of minable precious metals/fuels to strip off that planet. Being that China holds a stranglehold on rare earth elements its not suprising to see the American racing there first
danBran
It's time to put a microphone on one of these and record some audio - just for the sake of curiosity
Bill Bennett
Yeah Mark, BP will just run a pipe there for the oil and then we can wonder why the rain is black and sticky all of the sudden, And Yes Rocky, mining on Mars is cost effective, and danBran? Thank You for the laugh
Bob Comyn
Fail to see the point in a multi-billion dollar project to send another rover to the Red Planet in 2020, when three years later the Mars-One project will (hopefully) have established a permanent colony!
windykites
Is this all to do with the search for life? I will take a bet that they will never find any signs of life on Mars, or anywhere else for that matter. I would say that apart from Earth, the only place we may find life is in another dimension. For thousands of years, we have been having visits from aliens of all different shapes and sizes. You can deny this, if you like, but just look into the subject. These witnesses are definitely seeing something. Most of them are not after publicity, but something is making us see these things in the skies, and sometimes on the ground. It is a vast subject, however I believe that those behind it will not give us enough evidence for it to be proved. I don't believe there is a government cover-up, because I don't think they know any more than we do. After all, a lot of the sightings are by ordinary people.