NASA's InSight Mars Lander Set To Touch Down Monday

NASA In Sight Landing

NASA officially announces landing site of Mars 2020 rover, and it’s incredibly interesting

In a new blog post, NASA reveals that it has chosen a site known as the Jezero Crater to be the landing area for Mars 2020.

According to NASA, the InSight lander was created to land in a dust storm.

Nasa wrote: "The landing will kick off a two-year mission in which InSight will become the first spacecraft to study Mars" deep interior. Earth is a nice place to take a vacation. Scientists expect Mars 2020 to yield at least five different types of rock, including the kinds of clays and carbonates that are most likely to preserve chemical biosignatures.

Eventually, the research could be used to learn more about which types of Earth-like exoplanets may support alien life. It takes skill, focus and years of preparation, ' said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at Nasa.

"The Mars community has long coveted the scientific value of sites such as Jezero Crater, and a previous mission contemplated going there, but the challenges with safely landing were considered prohibitive", said Ken Farley, project scientist for Mars 2020 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "This will bring new insights on Mars formation and evolution that remains largely unconstrained".

The six-wheeled, plutonium-powered Mars 2020 rover is built on the same basic design as NASA's Curiosity rover, which has been exploring Mars' Gusev Crater for more than six years. It'll also have experiments to test technologies that future astronauts will need, such as producing oxygen from Mars' thin carbon-dioxide atmosphere, and the equipment that's needed to extract and store samples for future missions to pick up.

Mars InSight

On November 26, NASA's Mars InSight lander will touch down on the Red Planet.

Unlike the Curiosity and the Opportunity rovers sent as part of NASA's program to study the surface of the planet, the InSight's goal is to dig deep and listen for quakes.

It will then pile them in a cache for further study back on Earth.

Certain features of the Earth - such as plate tectonics which roil the terrain periodically - and flowing water which washes away ancient artifacts, actually make the search to understand early microbial life easier on Mars than on Earth.

Robotic rover missions are an important part of human space exploration because these tools also help inform NASA's efforts to send people to the surface of Mars sometime in the coming decades.

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