Watch Mars 2020 Come Together
What am I looking at?You're looking into the Spacecraft Assembly Facility (SAF) cleanroom at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. Engineers are building and testing NASA's next Mars rover, Mars 2020, before it is shipped to its launch site, Kennedy Space Center, in Florida. Engineers are currently working on putting the rover together.
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About Mars 2020Mars 2020 will be the first mission to look for signs of past life on the Red Planet. The rover will collect and store samples of rock and soil on the surface for a potential future mission to bring back to Earth.
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SpacecraftThe cruise stage, descent stage, aeroshell and rover together make up the spacecraft. As the spacecraft travels down through the Martian atmosphere, certain parts fall away one by one until the rover is safely on solid Martian ground.
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Cruise StageThe cruise stage is the configuration in which Mars 2020 travels to Mars. It includes the aeroshell (backshell and heatshield), in which the rover and its landing system are safely tucked away.
AeroshellThe aeroshell connects to the bottom of the descent stage. It consists of a backshell and heatshield, and that protects the rover from the intense heat experienced during entry into the Martian atmosphere.
Descent StageThe descent stage separates from the cruise stage upon arrival in Mars orbit and delivers the rover safely to the ground.
RoverThe rover is a six-wheeled vehicle with science instruments that will make discoveries and collect samples from the Martian surface.
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