NASA has been preparing for its Mars 2020 mission with a more decorated and newest version of the Curiosity Mars rover, the agency said recently.
The updated version looks a lot like its predecessor, the Curiosity Mars rover and for the mission, it will use the next generation of science and landing technology. The new Curiosity Mars rover includes seven new instruments, redesigned wheels, and a new drill to capture rock cores, while a caching system with a miniature robotic arm will store the samples.
Currently, the new hardware is under development at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, California, which manages the mission for the agency.
Other new features on the rover will include the Mars 2020 mission’s cruise stage to fly the rover out to Mars and a new descent-stage technology a rocket-powered “sky crane” that will lower the rover to the planet’s surface.
The rover looks roughly similar to its predecessor and around 85 percent of the hardware of the newest rover is based on inheritance hardware. NASA’s Mars Exploration Program’s director, Jim Watzin said that rover will save money as the agency is using many similar components to keep the cost of the mission low. It will also save time and reduce risks.
NASA’s Mars 2020 program executive George Tahu said, “Our next instruments will build on the success of MSL, which was a proving ground for new technology.” “These will gather scientific data in ways that weren’t possible before,” Tahu added.
The new rover will come with color cameras, a zoom lens and a laser that will have the capability to vaporize rocks and soil to analyze their chemistry.