Since 2012, the Curiosity mobile scientific laboratory has been moving around Mars, constantly sending new images and interesting data to Earth. Already in 2021, another Mars 2020 rover should join it, which received improved characteristics and has increased strength. He has already passed the first tests.
The first tests took place in a clean room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The functionality of all systems was confirmed. The installation was tested under terrestrial gravity (on Mars, it makes up only 38% of what is on our planet). The rover weighs 1,050 kg and can move 200 meters per day.
During the first launch, the rover moved at a speed of 1 meter at a time, which allowed engineers to evaluate engine performance and steering. Rover drove along small ramps, simulating the rough terrain that he should encounter on Mars.
According to NASA, the new rover will be more independent than its predecessors. He will receive a full set of scientific equipment, several high-resolution wide-format cameras and an advanced on-board system, which will be controlled by modern software.
Mars 2020 has greater strength than its predecessor, which for 7 years of operation showed problems with wheels. The tasks of the rover will include the study of the bottom of the surface of a dried lake, where he will look for signs of life. Its RIMFAX radar scanner will allow you to penetrate the soil to a depth of 10 meters. It is reported that the rover will receive an assistant – a small reconnaissance helicopter. The launch of the mission is scheduled for July 2020. Landing on the Martian crater Gesero is expected on February 18, 2021.