The rover formally known as Mars 2020 – Astronomy Magazine

Now, it seems that every time scientists make a new discovery about Mars, the conversation quickly shifts to: When are we going to go there and see for ourselves? With the upcoming Mars 2020 mission, scientists are finally taking the first steps toward exploring the Red Planet in person.

Planned for launch between July 17 and August 5, Mars 2020 will embark on a roughly seven-month journey to the Red Planet, arriving February 18, 2021. And once engineers confirm its landed safe and sound, Mars 2020 will set to work achieving its four main objectives.

Theres plenty of overlap between Mars 2020s goals and those of previous rovers, but Mars 2020 still has a unique agenda. Namely, Mars 2020 will seek signs of past life by searching for sites that were once habitable; hunt for evidence of ancient microbes at those sites by studying rocks known to preserve life; collect and store rock cores for a future sample return mission; and help scientists prepare for the hurdles human explorers will face on Mars, partly by testing a method for pulling oxygen out of thin air.

But first, the newly named rover has to get to the Red Planet.

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The rover formally known as Mars 2020 - Astronomy Magazine

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