|OVERVIEW | SCIENCE | TECHNOLOGY | LAUNCH VEHICLE | SPACECRAFT | ROVER | INSTRUMENTS | MISSION TIMELINE | COMMUNICATIONS | MISSION TEAM|
Here's what the Mars 2020 rover would do:
Mars 2020 Science Objective A:
Characterize the processes that formed and modified the geologic record within a field exploration area on Mars selected for evidence of an astrobiologically relevant ancient environment and geologic diversity
Mars 2020 Science Objective B:
Perform the following astrobiologically-relevant investigations on the geologic materials at the landing site:
- Determine the habitability of an ancient environment.
- For ancient environments interpreted to have been habitable, search for materials with high biosignature preservation potential.
- Search for potential evidence of past life using the observations regarding habitability and preservation as a guide.
Mars 2020 Science Objective C:
Assemble a returnable cache of samples for possible future return to Earth.
- Obtain samples that are scientifically selected; for which the field context is documented; that contain the most promising samples identified in Objective B; and, that represent the geologic diversity of the field site.
- Ensure compliance with future needs in the areas of planetary protection and engineering so that the cache could be returned in the future if NASA chooses to do so.
- Read about Depot Caching >>
Mars 2020 Science Objective D:
Contribute to the preparation for human exploration of Mars by making significant progress towards filling at least one major Strategic Knowledge Gap. The highest priority SKG measurements that are synergistic with Mars 2020 science objectives and compatible with the mission concept are (in priority order):
- Demonstration of In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) technologies to enable propellant and consumable oxygen production from the Martian atmosphere for future exploration missions.
- Characterization of atmospheric dust size and morphology to understands its effects on the operation of surface systems and human health.
- Surface weather measurements to validate global atmospheric models.
Synergies Between Planetary Science Objectives &
Objectives A, B, and C for the Mars 2020 mission address unknowns about Mars (Strategic Knowledge Gaps) that would otherwise make human exploration riskier and more costly.
While not new measurements, they would add to the knowledge gained from other landed Mars missions at different sites. This comparison helps mission planners understand conditions human explorers would face, allowing them to retire some risks and strategically plan to reduce others.
Goal 2: Characterize the Martian Climate, Objective A: Characterize the Martian Atmosphere, Present Climate, and Climate Processes
Goal 4, Prepare for Human Exploration