Science and TechSpace


NASA Decided Where It Wants The Mars 2020 Rover To Land

The location gives scientists a lot of opportunities to learn about Mars, but it also comes with some potential landing complications.
Posted at 1:04 PM, Nov 20, 2018

After a five year search, NASA finally decided where it wants to land the next Mars rover. 

The space agency wants to send the Mars 2020 rover to Jezero Crater. That spot is inside a larger basin just north of the equator on the Red Planet.

That region will give scientists the chance to study multiple types of Martian terrain. Experts also think that crater once had a river delta, which means it could have organic molecules or signs of life preserved in the land. 

While the crater offers a lot of learning opportunities, it also comes with some potential landing complications. 

The variety of terrain in the crater means it's harder for engineers to put the rover down safely, and in a spot where it won't get stuck. NASA has been developing new landing technology that will allow the rover to scan the ground as it floats down, and adjust its landing position if it's aiming toward a spot with a steep slope or large rock, for example. 

NASA still needs to verify the effectiveness of that new landing technique before the site selection is final. The rover is scheduled to launch in July or August of 2020.