In the middle of next year, the most favorable moment will be to conduct research missions to Mars. Three countries and the European Union took advantage of this opportunity. Together they will send 3 rovers, 2 probes and a helicopter to this globe.
The assault on the Red Planet through various devices will begin on June 17, 2020. Then, the Mars 2020 mission implemented by the US NASA will set off towards this planet. Within it, a lander, a large rover and the first drone to appear on the surface of Mars. The landing will take place in the delta area of the Jezero Crater, which is on the edge of Isidis Planitia, a giant trough north of the planet’s equator. Scientists chose this area because of the oldest and most interesting geological forms of the Red Planet found there.
Then a new era of exploring this fascinating planet and looking for traces of life that once developed there will begin. The new device looks like its predecessor, i.e. the rover currently exploring Mars called Curiosity. But this is only an illusion, because although it will be based on as much as 85 percent, Mars Rover 2020 will be much more technologically advanced than it. It will have as many as seven new instruments, redesigned wheels and more autonomy.
The most important improvement will be a drill with the help of which it will be possible to drill wells in the ground and take rock samples. Then they will be tightly packed and can be picked up for future missions and delivered to Earth for more thorough research. Interestingly, the Polish Space Agency will take part in this breakneck venture.
In addition to the rover, a drone will also appear. Such devices can explore this barren world much faster and more effectively than satellites and rovers. The Curiosity rover has been on Mars for 7 years, and at that time he managed to travel only about 25 kilometers. The drone will be able to cover this distance in one day, thus providing very valuable information about the geological and atmospheric past of this object. Perhaps this way you will be able to spot the traces of life faster.
The designed Helicopter flying drone weighs 1.8 kilograms and is quite small in size. Its diameter will be less than 10 centimeters, but its wings are to be much larger, because they reach up to 120 centimeters in diameter. Two propellers will rotate in opposite directions at 2500 rpm, which is even 10 times faster than in helicopters flying in the Earth’s atmosphere.
This is due to low pressure on Mars. The drone will acquire energy thanks to solar panels and will be able to stay in the air for many hours during the day, and when there is a need to recharge the batteries, it will be able to do so in a specially designated place on the rover. The most important aspect of his participation in the Mars 2020 rover mission will be conducting important aerial bird’s-eye observations. Until now, we could only see images of this planet with the help of orbiters, but now the images will be of much better quality and we will see many more details of the surface on them.
The next mission to Mars will be ExoMars 2020, which will be implemented by the Russian Space Agency and the European Space Agency, including the Polish Space Agency. Within it, a rover will appear on the surface of the planet technologi. The area of his exploration will be Oxia Planum, i.e. areas close to the Martian equator. This is a very interesting geologically part of the surface of the Red Planet. There are rich deposits of aluminum there, and the area is strewn with ancient canals in which water could once flow.
Astrobiologists are hoping that we will eventually be able to obtain irrefutable evidence that barren Mars was once a life-giving place, similar to today’s Earth. In addition to Oxia Planum, scientists at ESA were also considering another landing area. Mawrth Vallis is located a few hundred kilometers away from the selected area and is equally interesting geologically, but ultimately the attention of researchers focused more on the first.
Detecting traces of life on Mars really is only a matter of time. This scenario is all the more probable that exciting news has recently come to us from this planet about the detection of liquid water and methane deposits in the atmosphere and sedimentary layers testifying to the existence of lakes, rivers and even oceans of liquid water there in the past.
During its stay on Mars, the rover will take soil samples and examine them in its on-board laboratory, just as the American rover Curiosity has been doing for several years. Europeans have recently been unlucky to successfully land their devices on the surface of this barren globe. The Schiaparelli lander and Beagle-2 crashed there recently.
China will also take advantage of favorable conditions to fly to Mars. The government there will send a Mars orbiter called the Mars Global Remote Sensing Orbiter and a small rover called the HX-1. The lander and rover will fly to the Red Planet at the top of the Long March 5 rocket. The robot is to look around the area and choose the right places to take samples. Once this happens, the Long March 9 rocket will send another lander and rover there. The robot will take samples, deliver to the rocket, fly into orbit, leave Mars and return to Earth. All this is to take place by 2030.
The Chinese Space Agency, thanks to these large-scale missions, wants to take a historic step in its exploration plans. To date, no country has managed to carry out such a breakneck task. Chinese scientists will then have a lot of experience in this matter. This will be due to the Chang’e-5 mission to the moon. As part of this, the lunar rover is to take samples from the surface of the Silver Globe and deliver them to Earth for more thorough research.
Interestingly, the United Arab Emirates also have plans for the Red Planet. Next year, there will be an orbiter called Hope in Mars orbit that will fly there as part of the Emirates Mars Mission. The device will go there on top of the Japanese H-IIA launch rocket, and not only will it conduct research there, but will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates.