In 2012, NASA made an exciting announcement; we’re going to Mars. Again. This time, we’re bringing even more sophisticated technology and gadgets to help us discover the secrets of Mars while we’re still millions of miles away. The mission, known as Mars 2020, will hopefully give us even more insight into the fascinating red planet. To prepare for this year’s launch, here’s what you can do:
1. Mark your calendar for the launch date.
NASA doesn’t set launch dates, at least not this far out. Instead, they have launch windows that offer the best chance of getting the rover safely to Mars. For Mars 2020, this launch window is between July 17 and August 5, 2020. After it’s launched, the target landing date is February 18, 2021.
2. Read about the newly designed rover.
Similar in design to the Curiosity rover, the Mars 2020 rover (unnamed as of this writing) is 10 feet long, 9 feet wide, 7 feet tall, and weighs 2,314 pounds. You can read more about all the parts involved along with the scientific instruments included on board here.
3. Find out what the rover aims to discover.
All those scientific instruments on the rover aren’t just for show. The Mars 2020 mission has a few key goals that each tool will help it to reach. One of the main objectives is what we’ve all been intrigued by: discovering signs of life, past or present. The main instrument to help achieve this is the drill which can take core samples of rocks and soils. Another exciting objective of the mission is to gain more insight into just what we need to do to eventually send humans to the red planet.