NASA picks Jezero Crater for Mars 2020 rover landing site

NASA picks Jezero Crater for Mars 2020 rover landing site

NASA picks Jezero Crater for Mars 2020 rover landing site

In a new blog post, NASA reveals that it has chosen a site known as the Jezero Crater to be the landing area for Mars 2020.

It's also worth noting that, according to NASA, the Jezero Crater mission has been a long time coming; the location wasn't picked at random.

The North American Space Agency says it will launch the uncrewed robot, about the size of a auto, in July 2020 to explore the Red Planet.

Earlier in November, ExoMars rover - the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russian Roscosmos's joint venture to the Red Planet that will set out in 2020 - also chose a landing site on Mars's equator called Oxia Planum, which had in the prehistoric era housed a massive pool of water.

"The landing site in Jezero Crater offers geologically rich terrain, with landforms reaching as far back as 3.6 billion years old, that could potentially answer important questions in planetary evolution and astrobiology", said NASA's Thomas Zurbuchen. "Getting samples from this unique area will revolutionise how we think about Mars and its ability to harbour life".

Jezero Crater is located on the western edge of Isidis Planitia, which is a enormous basin north of the Martian equator that was formed by an asteroid impact some 3.9 billion years ago. From the Jezero Crater, NASA hopes to obtain samples of at least five different kinds of rocks, including clays and carbonates that can preserve signatures of life. It is a revised version of the rover Curiosity, which arrived on the Red Planet in 2012.

The Jezero crater once housed the delta of a river.

Inman will be at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, during InSight's landing. A final report will be presented to an independent review board and NASA Headquarters in the fall of 2019. The team will continue their work to study the TRN system and future risks.

When it comes to finding a place to park its spacecrafts, NASA doesn't just drive around waiting for someone close to the building to pull out of their spot.

The crater was selected from more than 60 candidate locations which were studied, analysed and debated by the mission team and planetary science community.

The Mars 2020 Project at JPL manages rover development for SMD.

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