Technology development makes missions possible. Each Mars mission is part of a continuing chain of innovation: each relies on past missions for new technologies and contributes its own innovations to future missions. This chain allows NASA to continue to push the boundaries of what is currently possible, while relying on proven technologies as well.

Technologies of Broad Benefit

  • NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft sealed inside its payload fairing, the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket rides smoke and flames as it rises from the launch pad.
    for providing the energy to get to Mars and conduct long-term studies
  • The electricity needed to operate NASA's Mars 2020 rover is provided by a power system called a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator, or MMRTG.
    for providing more efficient and increased electricity to the spacecraft and its subsystems
  • Late night in the desert: Goldstone's 230-foot (70-meter) antenna tracks spacecraft day and night. This photograph was taken on Jan. 11, 2012.
    for sending commands and receiving data faster and in greater amounts
  • In the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility, technicians remove one of the circuit boards on the Mars Exploration Rover 2 (MER-2).
    electronics for operating the spacecraft and its subsystems
  • Mission Scientist Examines Mars Images on Her Computer
    Software Engineering
    for providing the computing and commands necessary to operate the spacecraft and its subsystems

In-situ Exploration and Sample Return

  • NASA Mars 2020 Rover Separation Test
    Entry, Descent, and Landing
    for ensuring precise and safe landings
  • Test of Lander Vision System for Mars 2020
    Autonomous Planetary Mobility
    for enabling rovers, airplanes, and balloons to make decisions and avoid hazards on their own
  • RIMFAX Antenna Prototype
    Technologies for Severe Environments
    for making systems robust enough to handle extreme conditions in space and on Mars
  • Mars 2020 CacheCam Sample Tube
    Sample Return Technologies
    for collecting and returning rock, soil, and atmospheric samples back to Earth for further laboratory analysis
  • Spacecraft Coming out of Protective Storage
    Planetary Protection Technologies
    for cleaning and sterilizing spacecraft and handling soil, rock, and atmospheric samples

Science Instruments

  • This animation depicts the MarCO CubeSats relaying data from NASA's InSight lander as it enters the Martian atmosphere.
    Remote Science Instrumentation
    for collecting Mars data from orbit
  • This image from NASA's Curiosity rover shows a sample of powdered rock extracted by the rover's drill from the "Confidence Hills" target.
    In-Situ Instrumentation
    for collecting Mars data from the surface

You Might Also Like