A team of scientists and engineers shared some characteristics and the NASA rover sent to Mars in 2020 should look for signs of past life, collect samples for probable arrival to Earth, and test technology for future human exploration of the Red Planet, along with a new statement from the U.S. space agency.
The 154-page document was prepared by the Science Definition Team (SDT) to define the scientific objectives of the mission. The team, consisting of 19 scientists and engineers, proposed a concept of mission that could fulfill several planetary science goals of high priority and be an important step for the U.S. challenge of sending humans to Mars in the 2030s.
Scientific instruments will be charged on a similar rover Curiosity. Using Curiosity design help minimize the costs and risks of the mission and will create a rover that can meet the defined objectives.
The mission of 2020 proposed by the SDT is based on the findings of several Mars missions have found evidence that Mars was wet in the past and that the planet had environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. According to the team, look for signs of past life is the next logical step.
The report details how the rover would use its instruments to visual analysis, mineralogical and chemical microscopic scale to understand the environment around its landing site and identify biosignatures or features in the rocks and soil that may have been formed biologically.
The realization of this mission does not assume that life once existed on Mars. No matter who you are or no signs of life on the planet, the learning gained from the mission will be important for a better understanding of the circumstances in which life emerged on Earth, and the possibility of the existence of extraterrestrial life .