NASA is planning to launch another Mars rover in 2020 and the spatial agency has announced that a suitable landing spot has been identified.
Several zones were survived in order to find a location that has the potential to offer the highest amount of relevant information. The Jezero Crater features a variety of attractive landmarks that date back to 3.6 billion years ago. The rocks could hold the key to a variety of questions about Mars, including the evolution of the planet as eons passed and possible traces of life.
The new rover will explore the zones that are also favorable for the development of future colonies while also collecting a variety of rock and soil samples that may be brought back at some point for future analysis. The European Space Agency and NASA are currently brainstorming a variety of methods that may allow them to retrieve the samples.
While the Jezero Crater offers a variety of opportunities the unique geography poses some risks when it comes to landing and navigation. The region was considered in the past but the previously mentioned hazards led NASA to opt for other land zones.
New technological discoveries may allow rover to land without major risks but a final decision when it comes to the land zone will come in the future. The mission should take place in July 2020.
NASA has already sent two rovers on Mars, Opportunity and Curiosity. While Curiosity is active and currently exploring a crater, Opportunity stopped its transmission earlier in the summer as a massive dust storm spread around the entire planet. It is thought that the lack of sunrays may have forced the solar-powered rover to enter hibernation. Efforts are currently underway in order to track down the rover but the chances remain slim.
It remains to be seen if the new rover will be able to bring humanity closer to the dream of building a colony on Mars.