Mars 2020 mission to focus on search for past life

NEXT MARS ROVER. Artist's concept of Mars 2020 rover. Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

The next robotic rover to explore Mars in 2020 will focus on searching for signs of past life. In a 154-page document containing its proposals for the next Mars rover, NASA’s science definition team (SDT) said that it would scour the surface of the red planet more closely than ever to determine if life once existed on the planet. For the first time the mission would use microscopic analysis to collect the first rock samples for possible return to Earth and test ways to use natural resources on site for a future human trip. The Mars 2020 mission would build on the work being done by NASA’s Curiosity rover, which has been exploring the red planet since August 2012 and has already found evidence of potentially habitable environments.

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