FUTURE MISSIONS TO MARS
We can expect to hear a lot more from the Red Planet as three new missions will soon arrive on the surface
The InSight lander is due to arrive on the Red Planet in November, where it will attempt to peer right into the heart of Mars. It will feel for seismic vibrations, measure the heat flowing through the crust and gauge the planet’s wobble. Combining these readings will allow planetary scientists to work out what’s happening in the planet’s core.
Then in 2020, not one, but two new rovers will be arriving on the Red Planet in the hope of exposing yet more secrets. NASA’s fifth rover, Mars 2020, will hunt for interesting rocks to collect. Rather than analyse them in-situ, as Curiosity does, the rover will create sample caches that future Mars missions will collect and return to Earth.
Meanwhile, ESA is aiming to send its first ever rover to the Martian surface as part of the ExoMars mission. The rover’s biggest asset is its 2m long drill, which will be able to take pristine samples of rock that have been hidden from Martian weather and solar radiation.
InSight’s 2.4m-long robotic arm will lift a seismometer and a heat-flow probe onto the Martian surface ESA’s ExoMars rover will search for subsurface life in two ways: by structure and by chemistry