February 13, 2017 4:07:16 pm
NASA scientists have shortlisted three potential landing sites for the upcoming Mars rover mission that is set to launch in 2020.
The three recommended locations include Northeast Syrti (a very ancient portion of Mars’ surface), Jezero crater (once home to an ancient Martian lake) and Columbia Hill (potentially home to an ancient hot spring).
Mars 2020 is targeted for launch in July 2020 aboard a Atlas V 541 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the US state of Florida.
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The rover will conduct geological assessments of its landing site on Mars, determine the habitability of the environment, search for signs of ancient Martian life, and assess natural resources, hazards for future human explorers.
It will also prepare a collection of samples for possible return to Earth by a future mission.
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NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will build and manage operations of the Mars 2020 rover for the NASA Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington.
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