We reported that NASA has announced to send a new rover to Mars in 2020. However, lately Mars 2020 Science Definition Team, a NASA-appointed group has confirmed that the rover it will send to Mars in 2020 will look for ancient life.
So far, NASA has sent three rovers – Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity to Mars to collect information of the planet. In the mean time, Curiosity has found that Mars had the essential elements necessary for supporting life. On the other hand, NASA’s another rover Opportunity has found drinkable water on Mars. These two exciting hints have inspired scientists to study more and more about Mars. Therefore, new rover should be sent to Mars.
According to Mars 2020 Science Definition Team, it is the “next logical step” in looking for signs of life on Mars. The new rover’s payload of scientific instruments will be selected through a competition, and include a drill to extract cores from rocks and collect samples for a possible return to Earth in the future, though the methods for such a return haven’t yet been worked out. The rover itself will likely be designed much the same as Curiosity, with the same entry, descent and landing (EDL) system.
Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, has said in the agency’s statement, “This mission represents a major step towards creating high-value sampling and interrogation methods, as part of a broader strategy for sample returns by planetary missions.”