Ancient Mars crater chosen as landing site for 2020 space rover

22 November, 2018, 09:12 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • This Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter image shows the Jezero Crater delta region.                  NASA  JPL-Caltech  MSSS  JHU-APL

But Jezero came out a victor as it offers promising sampling targets of at least five kinds of rock, including clays and carbonates that have high potential to preserve signatures of past life, as revealed by NASA in a press statement.

The 45-kilometre-wide crater has a "geologically rich terrain" that is ideal for analysing the planet's surface as well as investigating "signs of ancient habitable conditions", the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said.

Between 3.5 billion and 3.9 billion years ago, when simple life forms were emerging on Earth, a river flowed through a delta system into a lake on Mars, then a warm and wet planet. Today, the space agency published a blog post announcing that it has selected a landing zone for its upcoming 2020 rover mission.

Technically, the Rover will be nearly an exact copy of the Curiosity probe, which launched in 2012 in the Gale crater.

After a five-year search, NASA has picked the Jezero Crater as the landing site for the mission. Out of more than 60 options, experts have chosen Jezero Crater.

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 unsafe objects at the landing site, moving away from them. Scientists claim that signs of organic molecules, and possibly microbial life, could be preserved in the delta. Scientists have considered landing previous rovers on the site, but its landscape was not ideal. "Getting samples from this unique area will revolutionise how we think about Mars and its ability to harbour life".

"Nothing has been more hard in robotic planetary exploration than landing on Mars", said Zurbuchen. However, the unit of scientific equipment Mars 2020 will carry and a module for collecting samples in a sealed capsule, which subsequently using one of the next missions to the red planet - will be delivered on the Ground. NASA thinks examining such rock samples in the sophisticated labs on Earth could lead to new findings that are hard for a robot to make all by itself.

InSight is very different from NASA's famous Mars rovers, Curiosity and Opportunity. According to the orbital data, here you can find the exits to the surface is extremely ancient rocks, important for understanding the geological history of Mars. NASA believes successful demonstration of the technology would be handy during future manned missions to the Red Planet.



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