The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) is in preparation for sending its Mars 2020 reconnaissance vehicle to the Red Planet this year. The exploration vehicle incorporates some key technologies as part of NASA's most ambitious Mars mission ever. NASA has rolled up its sleeves for the 2020 Mars mission. So, what features does the Mars 2020 exploration vehicle have?
The world's largest telescope, FAST, is at work!The world's largest telescope, FAST, is at work!
The world's largest telescope, built in China, officially began its mission after 3 years of testing. The huge telescope called FAST is expected to reveal the secrets of the universe.
Details on NASA 2020 Mars mission revealed
The mission, scheduled for July by NASA, also aims to lay the foundation for manned flights to Mars. As part of the mission, the Atlas V-541 rocket will carry the Mars 2020 rover to the Red Planet.
The Mars 2020 exploration vehicle, built as part of the Mars Exploration Program, is separated from its predecessor by the technological innovations it harbors, although in some of its features it resembles Curiosity, which is already at work on the Red Planet.
Mars 2020 exploration vehicle features
Mars 2020 has 23 cameras on the planet to trace past microbial life. Samples to be collected in this scope will be sent to Earth. Unlike previous traveller vehicles, a drone will also take part in the (pilotless aircraft) reconnaissance vehicle.
Each of the wheels on the Mars rover is 52.5 centimeters in diameter and relatively large than Curiosity's wheels, which landed on the surface of the Red Planet in 2012.
Each wheel with its own engine is connected to the vehicle by a titanium suspension. Titanium alloy springs are preferred in aerospace technologies because of their high durability and low mass.
The Mars 2020 exploration vehicle consists of two parts that will be separated from each other before entering the planet's atmosphere. The vessel, which will carry its cargo through the Red Planet's atmosphere, will hover over the planet's surface and the traveler will be lowered to Martian soil via a rope.
In the photo above, NASA engineers are seen conducting a thermal vacuum test of the spacecraft. The closest possible space conditions are being rehearsed in a chilled environment to almost minus 129 degrees Celsius. Powerful xenon lamps also mimic the sun's Rays.
The region where the Mars 2020 exploration vehicle will be lowered
So what region will the Mars 2020 Reconnaissance Vehicle be landed in? Scientists from NASA decided that the vehicle would be lowered into Jezero Crater on the Red Planet. The crater was once in the position of a deep lake fed by several rivers.
The green-tinged areas in the photo below show an abundance of clay-like minerals that tend to preserve organic matter. This makes the area in question promising to look for evidence of ancient microbial life.
In addition, Mars 2020 will introduce temperature, pressure and humidity measurements on the Red Planet. The vehicle, which also has a ground-penetrating radar, will conduct analyses of the planet underground.
Ultimate goal: manned flight to Mars
The main goal of NASA's Mars 2020 mission to the Red Planet is to support a possible manned flight to Mars in the 2030s. A sign of this is that the Mars exploration vehicle is carrying equipment that can convert carbon dioxide in the planet's atmosphere into oxygen.