While the primary focus of the Mars 2020 mission will be the search for evidence of past Martian life, the rover mission carries several other payloads that could support future robotic and human missions to the red planet.
On the eve of the landing of the rover Perseverance on Mars, scientists are looking ahead to the work it will do searching for evidence of past life on the planet and collecting samples for return to Earth.
NASA's Mars InSight lander is poised to make the ultimate field recording when Perseverance attempts its Feb. 18 landing. Politics could squelch an even better recording opportunity when China's Tianwen-1 lands this summer.
Four months after closing centers because of the coronavirus pandemic, NASA has been able to keep its highest priority missions on track, even as others have suffered delays.
On June 10, NASA IV&V participated in the Mars 2020 Safety and Mission Success Review (SMSR) where final mission assurance conclusions were provided, culminating in an affirmative “Go” from NASA IV&V, providing concurrence for the project to move forward to the Flight Readiness Review (FRR) in July. This milestone is the culmination of years of hard work by JPL and NASA IV&V to confirm Mars 2020 mission readiness for launch currently set for July 30.
The launch of NASA’s next Mars rover mission has been delayed to no earlier than July 30 because of a launch vehicle processing issue, the latest in a series of slips that have now used up nearly half of the available launch opportunities for the mission.
SpaceNews talks with the director of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program and the project scientist for the soon-to-launch Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission about the status of the mission, next steps in robotic exploration, and how it leads to sending humans to Mars.