New Mars Rovers..

Mars and Earth have different orbits, but every few years they line up, given us a 17 day window to launch stuff to Mars.  There’s several missions to Mars within this launch window which opens up 30th July 20 through to 15th Aug 20.

Perseverance Rover

The ‘Perseverance’ robotic explorer will be launching in August 2020.  It’s largely based off its predecessor Curiosity, a 6 wheeled Mars rover designed to hunt ancient microbial life.

The rover will carry 23 cameras, microphone, X-ray spectrometer, ultraviolet laser, drill and other scientific equipment (such as  Mastcam-Z, MEDA, MOXIE, PIXL, RIMFAX, SHERLOC & SuperCam).  Its computer will do more pre-processing than before allowing for less data needing to be sent back to Earth.  It will also cache a series of samples that can be returned to Earth in a future mission.

The rover is manufactured by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA’s use.  This mission will also contain the first Mars Helicopter called Ingenuit.

Tianwen-1 Rover

Tianwen-1 is due to launch in July in China on a Russian spacecraft.  The mission is dramatic progress for China’s space program.  If successful, will be China’s first rover to Mars.

Tianwen-1 will take 7 months to reach Mars.  Once in orbit, it will separate into two, one half will land, the other will stay in orbit.  Once touched down on the surface, a solar-powered rover will exit the lander and go exploring for the next 90 martian days.  The rover has several instruments including a camera, spectrometer, magnetic detector, radar and meteorological sensor.

Data will be relayed via the orbiter. The orbiter also has scientific instruments and will keep circle Mars for about one martian year (roughly 23 months).

ExoMars Rover

Another 6 wheeled Mars rover is on its way to Mars in 2022 to also search for signs of past life.  It will analyse the land, water and atmosphere of the planet; looking for specific biosignatures in the environment, and also to identify any hazards for future manned missions.

They will attempt to drop the rover in an area where organic material will likely be found.  The rover will look for suitable areas to drill using its camera in combination with ground penetrating radar.  The drill will dig to a depth of 2m and bring samples up to it’s onboard laboratory.  Analysed data will be transmitted back to Earth twice a day.

The vehicle part of a European Space Agency’s programme designed by Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage.

'Hope' Mars Mission

Bonus one…  “Hope” isn’t a rover, but an orbiter.  A Mars mission by United Arab Emirates.   Launching from Tanegashima Space Center on 20th July 1:58 a.m. UAE time on a Japanese rocket.  It will take 200 days to get to Mars then enter an elliptical orbit Mars to study the dynamics of the martian atmosphere and its interaction with outer space and the solar wind. The primary scientific objectives are to search for the connection between current martian weather and the ancient climate of Mars, study the loss mechanisms of Mars’ atmosphere to space by logging the escape of hydrogen and oxygen, investigate how the lower and upper levels of the martian atmosphere are connected, and create a global picture of how the martian atmosphere varies throughout the day and year.

Hope will spend at least two years studying aspects of the Martian atmosphere.

A list of Mars Rovers..

Mars Rover Nationality Landed Ended Location coordinates
Viking 1 lander US 20-Jun-76 11-Nov-82 22.697°N 48.222°W
Viking 2 lander US 3-Sep-76 12-Apr-80 48.269°N 225.990°W
Mars Pathfinder lander and Sojourner rover US 4-Jul-97 27-Sep-97 19.33°N 33.55°W
Spirit rover (MER-A) US 4-Jan-04 22-Mar-10 14.5718°S 175.4785°E
Opportunity rover (MER-B) US 25-Jan-04 10-Jun-18 1.9462°S 354.4734°E
Phoenix Mars Lander US 25-May-08 2-Nov-08 68.15°N 125.9°W
Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory) US 6-Aug-12 alive 4°36′0″S 137°12′0″E
Schiaparelli EDM lander EU 19-Oct-16 crashed 2°3′17″S 6°12′48″W
InSight lander US 26-Nov-18 alive 4.5°N 135.0°E
Tianwen-1 Rover (planned) China 23 July 20 46.7°N 117.5°E
Perseverance (planned) US 18-Feb-21 18.38°N 77.58°E
ExoMars (planned) EU Dec-22 18.275°N 335.368°E
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