Mars is an important planet when it comes to space exploration. It’s the next big target for manned missions, and could even become a research colony in the future, with a possibility that small areas could be terraformed to support human life. Even as the boundaries between science and science fiction continue to blur, we still have plenty learn about the red planet.
That means that more research is necessary before manned missions to mars can take place, and NASA is aiming to ramp things up with a new mars rover, currently scheduled for launch by the year 2020.
The new rover will investigate the availability of resources on mars, leading up to a manned mission. It will also investigate areas of the planet that previous rovers haven’t explored, especially around regions that may have once supported microbial life. If evidence of ancient life is found, it would bode well for future manned missions. Likewise, if the rover can find exploitable resources, it could help to increase the feasibility of developing manned research stations on the planet.
Although based heavily on the Curiosity rover, the upcoming rover will have design changes that allow it to navigate terrain that was outside of the scope of previous missions. One interesting addition will be microphones and recording capabilities, allowing the general public to hear sound from mars, for the first time in history.
See the full release and find out more about NASA’s plans at https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasas-next-mars-rover-progresses-toward-2020-launch