Computer-design drawing for NASA's 2020 Mars Rover
|Operator||NASA / JPL|
|Mission duration||Planned: 1 Mars year (668 sols)|
|Manufacturer||Jet Propulsion Laboratory|
|Launch mass||Rover: 1,050 kg (2,315 lb)|
|Dimensions||Rover: 3 × 2.7 × 2.2 m (9.8 × 8.9 × 7.2 ft)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||17 July to 5 August 2020|
|Rocket||Atlas V 541|
|Launch site||Cape Canaveral SLC-41|
|Landing date||18 February 2021|
|Landing site||Jezero crater|
Mars 2020 is a Mars rover mission by NASA's Mars Exploration Program with a planned launch on 17 July 2020, and touch down in Jezero crater on Mars on 18 February 2021. It will investigate an astrobiologically relevant ancient environment on Mars and investigate its surface geological processes and history, including the assessment of its past habitability, the possibility of past life on Mars, and the potential for preservation of biosignatures within accessible geological materials. It will cache sample containers along its route for a potential future Mars sample-return mission.
The currently unnamed Mars 2020 mission was announced by NASA on 4 December 2012 at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. The rover's design is derived from the Curiosity rover, and will use many components already fabricated and tested, but it will carry different scientific instruments and a core drill.
The mission will seek signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past, and will also search for evidence—or biosignatures—of past microbial life. The rover is planned for launch in 2020 on an Atlas V-541, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory will manage the mission. The mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program.
The Science Definition Team proposed that the rover collect and package as many as 31 samples of rock cores and surface soil for a later mission to bring back for definitive analysis on Earth. In 2015, however, they expanded the concept, planning to collect even more samples and distribute the tubes in small piles or caches across the surface of Mars.
In September 2013 NASA launched an Announcement of Opportunity for researchers to propose and develop the instruments needed, including the Sample Caching System. The science instruments for the mission were selected in July 2014 after an open competition based on the scientific objectives set one year earlier. The science conducted by the rover's instruments will provide the context needed for detailed analyses of the returned samples. The chairman of the Science Definition Team stated that NASA does not presume that life ever existed on Mars, but given the recent Curiosity rover findings, past Martian life seems possible.
The Mars 2020 rover will explore a site likely to have been habitable. It will seek signs of past life, set aside a returnable cache with the most compelling rock core and soil samples, and demonstrate technology needed for the future human and robotic exploration of Mars.
A key mission requirement is that it must help prepare NASA for its long-term Mars sample-return mission and crewed mission efforts. The rover will make measurements and technology demonstrations to help designers of a future human expedition understand any hazards posed by Martian dust, and will test technology to produce a small amount of pure oxygen (O
2) from Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). Improved precision landing technology that enhances the scientific value of robotic missions also will be critical for eventual human exploration on the surface. Based on input from the Science Definition Team, NASA defined the final objectives for the 2020 rover. Those become the basis for soliciting proposals to provide instruments for the rover's science payload in the spring of 2014.
The mission will also attempt to identify subsurface water, improve landing techniques, and characterize weather, dust, and other potential environmental conditions that could affect future astronauts living and working on Mars.
The three major components of the Mars 2020 spacecraft are the cruise stage for travel between Earth and Mars; the Entry, Descent, and Landing System (EDLS) that includes the aeroshell, parachute, descent vehicle, and sky crane; and the rover.
The rover is based on the design of Curiosity. While there are differences in scientific instruments and the engineering required to support them, the entire landing system (including the sky crane and heat shield) and rover chassis can essentially be recreated without any additional engineering or research. This reduces overall technical risk for the mission, while saving funds and time on development. One of the upgrades is a guidance and control technique called "Terrain Relative Navigation" to fine-tune steering in the final moments of landing. In October 2016, NASA reported using the Xombie rocket to test the Lander Vision System (LVS), as part of the Autonomous Descent and Ascent Powered-flight Testbed (ADAPT) experimental technologies, for the Mars 2020 mission landing, meant to increase the landing accuracy and avoid obstacle hazards.
A Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG), left over as a backup part for Curiosity during its construction, will power the rover. The generator has a mass of 45 kilograms (99 lb) and uses 4.8 kilograms (11 lb) of plutonium dioxide as the source of steady supply of heat that is converted to electricity; the electrical power generated is approximately 110 watts at launch with little decrease over the mission time. Two lithium-ion rechargeable batteries are included to meet peak demands of rover activities when the demand temporarily exceeds the MMRTG's steady electrical output levels. The MMRTG offers a 14-year operational lifetime, and it was provided to NASA by the US Department of Energy. Unlike solar panels, the MMRTG provides engineers with significant flexibility in operating the rover's instruments even at night and during dust storms, and through the winter season.
Engineers redesigned the Mars 2020 rover wheels to be more robust than Curiosity's wheels, which have sustained some damage. The rover will have thicker, more durable aluminum wheels, with reduced width and a greater diameter (52.5 cm, 20.7 in) than Curiosity's 50 cm (20 in) wheels. The aluminum wheels are covered with cleats for traction and curved titanium spokes for springy support. The combination of the larger instrument suite, new Sampling and Caching System, and modified wheels makes Mars 2020 heavier than its predecessor, Curiosity.
The rover mission and launch are estimated to cost about US$2.1 billion. The mission's predecessor, the Mars Science Laboratory, cost US$2.5 billion in total. The availability of spare parts make the new rover somewhat more affordable. Curiosity's engineering team are also involved in the rover's design.
- Planetary Instrument for X-Ray Lithochemistry (PIXL), an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer to determine the fine scale elemental composition of Martian surface materials.
- Radar Imager for Mars' subsurface experiment (RIMFAX), a ground-penetrating radar to image different ground densities, structural layers, buried rocks, meteorites, and detect underground water ice and salty brine at 10 m (33 ft) depth.
- Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA), a set of sensors that measure temperature, wind speed and direction, pressure, relative humidity, radiation, and dust size and shape. It will be provided by Spain's Centro de Astrobiología.
- Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE), an exploration technology investigation that will produce a small amount of oxygen (O
2) from Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO
2). This technology could be scaled up in the future for human life support or to make the rocket fuel for return missions.
- SuperCam, an instrument suite that can provide imaging, chemical composition analysis and mineralogy in rocks and regolith from a distance. It is an upgraded version of the ChemCam on the Curiosity rover but with two lasers and four spectrometers that will allow it to remotely identify biosignatures and assess the past habitability.
- Mastcam-Z, a stereoscopic imaging system with the ability to zoom.
- Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC), an ultraviolet Raman spectrometer that uses fine-scale imaging and an ultraviolet (UV) laser to determine fine-scale mineralogy and detect organic compounds.
- Mars Helicopter Scout (MHS) is a planned solar powered helicopter drone with a mass of 1.8 kg (4.0 lb) that will be tested for flight stability, and for its potential to scout the best driving route for the rover. The small helicopter is expected to fly up to five times during its 30-day testing, and will fly no more than 3 minutes per day. It is a technology demonstrator that will form the foundation on which more capable helicopters can be developed for aerial exploration of Mars and other planetary targets with an atmosphere.
- Microphones will be used during the landing event, while driving, and when collecting samples.
- 23 cameras in total are included in the Mars 2020 rover.
Proposed landing sites
In May 2017, evidence of the earliest known life on land may have been found in 3.48-billion-year-old geyserite, a mineral deposit often found around hot springs and geysers, uncovered in the Pilbara Craton of Western Australia. These findings may be helpful in deciding where best to search for early signs of life on the planet Mars. The following locations are the eight landing sites that were under consideration for Mars 2020.
A workshop was held on 8–10 February 2017 in Pasadena, California, to discuss these sites, with the goal of narrowing down the list to three sites for further consideration. The selected sites are:
- Jezero crater
- Northeastern region of Syrtis Major Planum
- Columbia Hills, in Gusev Crater, where the Spirit rover landed
A key mission requirement for this rover is that it must help prepare NASA for its Mars sample-return mission (MSR) campaign, which is needed before any crewed mission takes place. Such effort would require three additional vehicles: an orbiter, a fetch rover, and a Mars ascent vehicle (MAV).
Dozens of samples would be collected and cached by the Mars 2020 rover, and would be left on the surface of Mars for possible later retrieval. A "fetch rover" would retrieve the sample caches and deliver them to a Mars ascent vehicle (MAV). In July 2018 NASA contracted Airbus to produce a "fetch rover" concept. The MAV would launch from Mars and enter a 500 km orbit and rendezvous with a new Mars orbiter. The sample container would be transferred to an Earth entry vehicle (EEV) which would bring it to Earth, enter the atmosphere under a parachute and hard-land for retrieval and analyses in specially designed safe laboratories.
The mission has a current launch window of 17 July to 5 August 2020, where the positions of Earth and Mars are optimal for traveling to Mars. The rover is scheduled to land on Mars on 18 February 2021, with a planned surface mission of at least 1 Mars year (668 sols or 687 Earth days).
- Mars Astrobiology Explorer-Cacher, a cancelled astrobiology rover
- Climate of Mars
- Exploration of Mars
- Life on Mars
- List of missions to Mars
- Mars Global Remote Sensing Orbiter and Small Rover
- Mars Orbiter Mission
- Rosalind Franklin, the 2020 ExoMars rover
- Signs Of LIfe Detector
- Water on Mars
- "Mission: Overview". NASA. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- "Designing A Mars Rover To Launch in 2020". NASA/JPL. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
- "Mars 2020 Rover Tech Specs". JPL/NASA. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
- mars.nasa.gov. "Overview - Mars 2020 Rover". mars.nasa.gov. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
- Ray, Justin (25 July 2016). "NASA books nuclear-certified Atlas 5 rocket for Mars 2020 rover launch". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
- Chang, Kenneth (19 November 2018). "NASA Mars 2020 Rover Gets a Landing Site: A Crater That Contained a Lake - The rover will search the Jezero Crater and delta for the chemical building blocks of life and other signs of past microbes". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
- Wall, Mike (19 November 2018). "Jezero Crater or Bust! NASA Picks Landing Site for Mars 2020 Rover". Space.com. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
- Chang, Alicia (9 July 2013). "Panel: Next Mars rover should gather rocks, soil". Associated Press. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
- Schulte, Mitch (20 December 2012). "Call for Letters of Application for Membership on the Science Definition Team for the 2020 Mars Science Rover" (PDF). NASA. NNH13ZDA003L.
- "Summary of the Final Report" (PDF). NASA / Mars Program Planning Group. 25 September 2012.
- Moskowitz, Clara (5 February 2013). "Scientists Offer Wary Support for NASA's New Mars Rover". Space.com. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
- Harwood, William (4 December 2012). "NASA announces plans for new $1.5 billion Mars rover". CNET. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
Using spare parts and mission plans developed for NASA's Curiosity Mars rover, the space agency says it can build and launch the rover in 2020 and stay within current budget guidelines.
- Amos, Jonathan (4 December 2012). "Nasa to send new rover to Mars in 2020". BBC News. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
- "Program And Missions – 2020 Mission Plans". NASA. 2015.
- Mann, Adam (4 December 2012). "NASA Announces New Twin Rover for Curiosity Launching to Mars in 2020". Wired. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
- Leone, Dan (3 October 2012). "Mars Planning Group Endorses Sample Return". SpaceNews.
- Davis, Jason (28 August 2017). "NASA considers kicking Mars sample return into high gear". The Planetary Society.
- "Announcement of Opportunity: Mars 2020 Investigations" (PDF). NASA. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
- "Mars 2020 Mission: Instruments". NASA. 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
- Brown, Dwayne (31 July 2014). "RELEASE 14-208 – NASA Announces Mars 2020 Rover Payload to Explore the Red Planet as Never Before". NASA. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
- "Objectives – 2020 Mission Plans". mars.nasa.gov. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
- "Science Team Outlines Goals for NASA's 2020 Mars Rover". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NASA. 9 July 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
- Klotz, Irene (21 November 2013). "Mars 2020 Rover To Include Test Device To Tap Planet's Atmosphere for Oxygen". SpaceNews. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- Bergin, Chris (2 September 2014). "Curiosity EDL data to provide 2020 Mars Rover with super landing skills". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
- "Mars 2020 Rover - Overview". NASA/JPL. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
- Dreier, Casey (10 January 2013). "New Details on the 2020 Mars Rover". The Planetary Society. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- "Mars 2020 Rover: Entry, Descent, and Landing System". NASA. July 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
- Williams, Leslie; Webster, Guy; Anderson, Gina (4 October 2016). "NASA Flight Program Tests Mars Lander Vision System". NASA. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
- Fresh Eyes on Mars: Mars 2020 Lander Vision System Tested through NASA's Flight Opportunities Program Oct 2016
- Boyle, Alan (4 December 2012). "NASA plans 2020 Mars rover remake". Cosmic Log. NBC News. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
- Lakdawalla, Emily (August 19, 2014). "Curiosity wheel damage: The problem and solutions". The Planetary Society Blogs. The Planetary Society. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- Gebhardt, Chris. "Mars 2020 rover receives upgraded eyesight for tricky skycrane landing". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- "Mars 2020 - Body: New Wheels for Mars 2020". NASA/JPL. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
- "Mars 2020 Rover - Wheels". NASA. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
- Foust, Jeff (20 July 2016). "Mars 2020 rover mission to cost more than $2 billion". SpaceNews.
- Wall, Mike (4 December 2012). "NASA to Launch New Mars Rover in 2020". Space.com. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
- Webster, Guy; Brown, Dwayne (21 January 2014). "NASA Receives Mars 2020 Rover Instrument Proposals for Evaluation". NASA. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
- Timmer, John (31 July 2014). "NASA announces the instruments for the next Mars rover". ARS Technica. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- Brown, Dwayne (31 July 2014). "NASA Announces Mars 2020 Rover Payload to Explore the Red Planet as Never Before". NASA. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
- Webster, Guy (31 July 2014). "Mars 2020 Rover's PIXL to Focus X-Rays on Tiny Targets". NASA. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
- "Adaptive sampling for rover x-ray lithochemistry" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 August 2014.
- "RIMFAX, The Radar Imager for Mars' Subsurface Experiment". NASA. July 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
- Chung, Emily (19 August 2014). "Mars 2020 rover's RIMFAX radar will 'see' deep underground". Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
- U of T scientist to play key role on Mars 2020 Rover Mission
- In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU). GCD-NASA.
- Borenstein, Seth (31 July 2014). "NASA to test making rocket fuel ingredient on Mars". Associated Press. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
- Webb, Jonathan (1 August 2014). "Mars 2020 rover will pave the way for future manned missions". BBC News. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- "NASA Administrator Signs Agreements to Advance Agency's Journey to Mars". NASA. 16 June 2015.
- Webster, Guy (31 July 2014). "SHERLOC to Micro-Map Mars Minerals and Carbon Rings". NASA. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
- "SHERLOC: Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals, an Investigation for 2020" (PDF).
- Mars Helicopter to Fly on NASA’s Next Red Planet Rover Mission. NASA News. 11 May 2018.
- Chang, Kenneth. "A Helicopter on Mars? NASA Wants to Try". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
- Gush, Loren (11 May 2018). "NASA is sending a helicopter to Mars to get a bird's-eye view of the planet - The Mars Helicopter is happening, y'all". The Verge. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
- Strickland, Ashley (15 July 2016). "New Mars 2020 rover will be able to 'hear' the Red Planet". CNN News. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
- "NASA's 2020 Mars rover to have 23 'eyes'". The Times of India. Press Trust of India. 1 November 2017.
- "Oldest evidence of life on land found in 3.48-billion-year-old Australian rocks". Phys.org. 9 May 2017. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
- Djokic, Tara; Van Kranendonk, Martin J.; Campbell, Kathleen A.; Walter, Malcolm R.; Ward, Colin R. (9 May 2017). "Earliest signs of life on land preserved in ca. 3.5 Ga hot spring deposits". Nature Communications. 8: 15263. Bibcode:2017NatCo...815263D. doi:10.1038/ncomms15263. PMC 5436104. PMID 28486437. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
- Farley, Ken (8 September 2015). "Researcher discusses where to land Mars 2020". Phys.org. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
- Hand, Eric (6 August 2015). "Mars scientists tap ancient river deltas and hot springs as promising targets for 2020 rover". Science News. Science News. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- "PIA19303: A Possible Landing Site for the 2020 Mission: Jezero Crater". NASA. 4 March 2015. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- "2020 Landing Site for Mars Rover Mission". NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
- Witze, Alexandra (11 February 2017). "Three sites where NASA might retrieve its first Mars rock". Nature. Bibcode:2017Natur.542..279W. doi:10.1038/nature.2017.21470. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
- Goudge, Timothy A.; Mustard, John F.; Head, James W.; Fassett, Caleb I.; Wiseman, Sandra M. (6 March 2015). "Assessing the Mineralogy of the Watershed and Fan Deposits of the Jezero Crater Paleolake System, Mars". Journal of Geophysical Research. 120 (4): 775. Bibcode:2015JGRE..120..775G. doi:10.1002/2014JE004782.
- Wray, James (6 June 2008). "Channel into Jezero Crater Delta". NASA. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- Evans, Kim (13 October 2015). "NASA Eyes Sample-Return Capability for Post-2020 Mars Orbiter". Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
- Mattingly, Richard (March 2010). "Mission Concept Study: Planetary Science Decadal Survey - MSR Orbiter Mission (Including Mars Returned Sample Handling)" (PDF). NASA.
- Amos, Jonathan (6 July 2018). "Fetch rover! Robot to retrieve Mars rocks". BBC News. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
- Mars 2020 website
- Mars 2020 Science Definition Team Report at NASA.gov
- Mars 2020: Proposed Science Goals (3:09; July 2013) on YouTube
- Mars 2020: Rover & Beyond Conference (51:42; July 2014) on YouTube
- Mars 2020: Next Mission to Mars (8:57; May 2017) on YouTube
- Mars 2020: Building the Mission (3:00; December 2017) on YouTube
- Mars 2020: Building the Rover (3:50; October 2018) on YouTube
- Mars 2020: Jezero crater flyover (2:13; December 2018) on YouTube