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


Jezero Crater was chosen after a 5-yr search of over 60 possible locations on MarsNASA has chosen a 3.6 billion-year-old crater as the landing site for its unmanned Mars 2020 rover mission to seek signs of past life on the Red Planet, the United States space agency said Monday. Today, the space agency published a blog post announcing that it has selected a landing zone for its upcoming 2020 rover mission.

It will not only seek signs of ancient habitable conditions -and past microbial life - but the rover also will collect rock and soil samples and store them in a cache on the planet's surface, the statement said.

Knowing more about the ability for life to exist on Mars in the distant past could inform us about how life evolved on Earth.

The crater itself is rocky in places and filled with depressions in others which will make the landing process challenging, but NASA believes that the risk is worth the scientific reward.

Scientists suspect the Mars 2020 rover may be able to detect signs of microbial life, as the landforms within the crater are estimated to be around 3.6 billion years old and were likely once part of a lake-delta system.

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

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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. It will be the same type as the Atlas that has brought the successful Mars Curiosity rover to the Red Planet.

There are various factors that NASA needed to consider while choosing an arrival site.

NASA revealed that there has always been an interest to explore Jezero Crater. "The Mars 2020 engineering team has done a tremendous amount of work to prepare us for this decision".

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 risky objects at the landing site, moving away from them.

When it comes to finding a place to park its spacecrafts, NASA doesn't just drive around waiting for someone close to the building to pull out of their spot. NASA's Launch Services Program, based at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is responsible for launch management.