NASA selects old crater as Mars 2020 rover site

NASA selects old crater as Mars 2020 rover site

NASA selects old crater as Mars 2020 rover site

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has selected a landing site for its Mars 2020 rover.

Mars 2020 will launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The Mars 2020 rover mission will be looking signs of past microbial life and collect samples of rocks that will be retrieved by future explorers.

"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 Thomas Zurbuchen of NASA's Science Directorate.

Knowing more about the ability for life to exist on Mars in the distant past could inform us about how life evolved on Earth.

Jezero Crater is located on the western edge of Isidis Planitia, a giant impact basin just north of the Martian equator. Utilizing information from NASA's armada of Mars orbiters, they will outline landscape in more noteworthy detail and distinguish districts of intrigue - places with the most fascinating geographical highlights, for instance - where Mars 2020 could gather the best science tests. Scientists also believe that the crater could have preserved ancient organic molecules from the water that flowed at this site billions of years ago.

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"From the point of view of potentially habitable conditions is the most attractive area, says Ken Farley of the California Institute of technology, one of the employed scientists on Mars 2020, Delta retains the fingerprints of life". Here in Jezero Crater delta, sediments contain clays and carbonates.

Along with the ancient river delta, the site is also surrounded with small impact craters, boulders and rocks, cliffs, and depressions filled with aeolian bedforms that can trap a rover.

Technically, the Rover will be nearly an exact copy of the Curiosity probe, which launched in 2012 in the Gale crater.

NASA revealed that there has always been an interest to explore Jezero Crater.

The site selection is dependent upon extensive analyses and verification testing of the TRN capability. "The Mars 2020 engineering team has done a tremendous amount of work to prepare us for this decision".

Instead of having an analytical laboratory on board - like Curiosity has - Mars 2020 is created to look at rocks on a finer scale, seeing what biosignatures are preserved.

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