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

Sky at Night Magazine - - MARS UPDATE -

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

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