NASA has announced plans for a multi-year Mars program, including a new robotic science rover set to launch in 2020. The 2020 mission will constitute another step toward the US president’s challenge of sending humans to Mars orbit in the 2030s.
The planned Mars program includes:
- the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers
- two NASA spacecraft and contributions to one European spacecraft currently orbiting Mars
- the 2013 launch of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) orbiter to study the Martian upper atmosphere
- the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission, which will take the first look into the deep interior of Mars
- and participation in European Space Agency’s 2016 and 2018 ExoMars missions, including providing “Electra” telecommunication radios to ESA’s 2016 mission and a critical element of the premier astrobiology instrument on the 2018 ExoMars rover
The agency had already announced InSight, which will launch in 2016, bringing a total of seven NASA missions operating or being planned to study and explore Mars.
The future rover development and design will be based on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) architecture that successfully carried the Curiosity rover to the Martian surface recently.
Read more about the mission portfolio.