NASA Picks Landing Spot for 2020 Mars Rover

NASA Picks Landing Spot for 2020 Mars Rover

In a new blog post, NASA reveals that it has chosen a site known as the Jezero Crater to be the landing area for Mars 2020.

It's been many years in the making, but NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission is now in the home stretch.

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.

The location has in the past been considered too tough a challenge, but researchers hope to find evidence of "ancient habitable conditions - and past microbial life", according to NASA.

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate said, "The landing site in Jezero Crater offers geologically rich terrain, with landforms reaching as far back as 3.6 billion years old, that could potentially answer important questions in planetary evolution and astrobiology".

"Getting samples from this unique area will revolutionize how we think about Mars and its ability to harbour life", he added. "A delta is extremely good at preserving bio-signatures-any evidence of life that might have existed in the lake water. or possibly things that lived in the headwaters region that were swept in by the river and deposited in the delta", project scientist Ken Farley tells the BBC. There are at least five different types of rock present and potentially a wide variety of minerals. "But what was once out of reach is now conceivable, thanks to the 2020 engineering team and advances in Mars entry, descent and landing technologies".

NASA Picks Landing Spot for 2020 Mars Rover

Forward-looking: While it remains to be seen whether or not humans will ever establish long-term colonies on Mars, that doesn't mean organizations like NASA aren't exploring the Red Planet.

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

Jezero Crater's selection is still "dependent upon extensive analyses and verification testing" according to NASA, and a final report will be given to NASA HQ towards the end of 2019.

"Nothing has been more hard in robotic planetary exploration than landing on Mars", said Zurbuchen.

Image: NASA has announced the rover will land in the Jezero Crater. Utilizing information from NASA's armada of Mars orbiters, they will outline landscape in more noteworthy detail and distinguish districts of intrigue - places with the most fascinating geographical highlights, for instance - where Mars 2020 could gather the best science tests. Mars 2020 will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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