NASA has chosen Jezero Crater, a geologically rich terrain, as the landing site for its coming Mars 2020 rover mission, the US space agency said.
In a 5 year search, National Aeronautics and Space Administration scrutinised each available detail of over sixty candidate locations on the Mars that ware debated by the mission team and also the planetary science community.
The rover mission is scheduled to launch in July 2020 as NASA’s next step in exploration of the Mars, the US area agency said in a statement.
It can not only look for signs of ancient habitable conditions — and past microbic life — however the rover additionally will collect rock and soil samples and store them in a cache on the planet’s surface, the statement said.
NASA and European space Agency (ESA) are finding out future mission ideas to retrieve the samples and come back them to Earth, thus this landing site sets the stage for the next decade of Mars exploration.
“The landing site in Jezero Crater offers geologically rich terrain, with landforms reaching as far back as 3.6 billion years previous, that might probably give answer of important queries in planetary evolution and astrology, aforesaid Thomas Zurbuchen associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission directorate.
“Getting samples from this unique area can revolutionise however we expect about Mars and its ability to harbour life,” Zurbuchen aforesaid.
Jezero Crater is found on the western edge of Isidis Planitia, a large impact basin simply north of the Martian equator.
Western Isidis presents some of the oldest and most scientifically fascinating landscapes Mars has got to offer.
Mission scientists believe the 45-kilometre crater, once home to an ancient river delta, may have collected and preserved ancient organic molecules and alternative potential signs of microbic life from the water and sediments that flowed into the crater billions of years past.
Jezero Crater’s ancient lake-delta system offers several promising sampling targets of at least 5 totally different forms of rock, together with clays and carbonates that have high potential to preserve signatures of past life.
The material carried into the delta from a large watershed might contain a large form of minerals from inside and outside the crater.
The geological diversity that creates Jezero thus appealing to Mars 2020 scientists conjointly makes it a challenge for the team’s entry, descent and landing (EDL) engineers, NASA said.
Along with the huge near river delta and little crater impacts, the site contains varied boulders and rocks to the east, cliffs to the west, and depressions full of aeolian bedforms (wind-derived ripples in sand that might trap a rover) in many locations, it said.
“The Mars community has long coveted the scientific value of sites like Jezero Crater, and a previous mission contemplated going there, however the challenges with the safely landing were considered prohibitory said Ken Farley the project scientist for Mars 2020 at NASA’s jet propulsion Laboratory.
“But what was once out of reach is currently conceivable, because of the 2020 engineering team and advances in Mars entry, descent and landing technologies,” Farley said. — PTI