The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has unveiled the Mars 2020 rover. The vehicle is slated to head for the Red Plant in summer 2020. The rover has been developed by the agency at its research and development center Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Los Angeles. Scientists assembled the vehicle in a large, sterile room at the laboratory. Scientists last week successfully tested its driving equipment. The Mars 2020 rover will carry the latest scientific and engineering tools. It will search for the signs of life on the planet. It will also collect samples of the Martian surface. The tubes carrying Martian soil and rocks will be returned to Earth on a future mission.
The rover is approximately the size of a car. It is equipped with six wheels. The wheels are designed to allow it to pass through rocky terrain just like its predecessor Curiosity. The rover has 23 cameras that will click images of the surface and transmit back on Earth. It has two ears that will record the sound of Martian winds and the landing for analysis. The US space agency also intends to use Mars 2020 and other missions to prepare for human exploration of the planet. Mars is the fourth planet in the solar system and next to Earth. The rover will cover around 200 yards per Martian day. A day on the Red Planet is roughly 40 minutes longer than a day on Earth.
Mars 2020 has seven-foot-long arms. It will be fueled by a miniature nuclear reactor. It will also carry a drill that will crush the rocks for collecting samples. The samples will be collected from locations where scientists believe the evidence of ancient life is still preserved. It will be the first robotic rover that will collect samples of the Martian surface. The rover will lift off from Cape Canaveral in Florida in July 2020. It will land on the Red Planet’s surface in next February, becoming the fifth US rover to touchdown on Mars surface.