Robotic Spacecraft (Astronomy, Planetary, Earth, Solar/Heliophysics) > Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) and Mars 2020 Rover Section

NASA - Mars 2020 Rover

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redliox:
Putting up a thread to dedicate toward the 2020 Rover plans.

First bit of fresh news on the rover: they've narrowed down the landing sites to the top 8 now, with some surprising choices: http://news.sciencemag.org/space/2015/08/mars-scientists-tap-ancient-river-deltas-and-hot-springs-promising-targets-2020-rover?rss=1
I also credit Van Kane for blogging this on his site too: http://futureplanets.blogspot.com/2015/08/list-of-2020-rover-landing-sites-narrow.html

Of the eight, three stand out to me: Jezsero Crater, Columbia Hills, Melas Chasm.  Any of those 3 would excite me.  The crater (which is actually one of 4 sites near Isidis Basin) seems to be a potential gold mine akin to Gale and Gusev Craters with river channels intermingling with an ancient crater lake.  Columbia Hills, i.e. Gusev Crater, has been reconsidered thanks to Spirit's discoveries relating to hydrothermal activity and that there are areas of interest that were just beyond Spirit's reach worth revisiting.  Melas Chasm, frankly, because it is part of Valles Marineris, and bound to be rich in both geologic and hydrological activity, not to mention being a prominent region of Mars not yet explored 'on foot.'

Use this thread to add news directly tied to the 2020 Rover.

NovaSilisko:
I wonder what the real chances are of an extended mission jaunt to Spirit (or its landing hardware) if M2020 does land near Columbia Hills, or even a piece removed from it and put in a sample canister (assuming it could be removed easily). I can dream...

redliox:

--- Quote from: NovaSilisko on 08/08/2015 04:43 am ---I wonder what the real chances are of an extended mission jaunt to Spirit (or its landing hardware) if M2020 does land near Columbia Hills, or even a piece removed from it and put in a sample canister (assuming it could be removed easily). I can dream...

--- End quote ---

I don't think they'd 'sample' Spirit (and by that I mean a piece like you suggest), although a future human crew would be better able to do that; most likely it'd be a visual inspection although they might prefer it from a distance since Spirit did end up stuck in sand.  I included a document from MEPAG that sums up both the PR and scientific reasons for revisiting Gusev.  Had Spirit been able to continue operating for perhaps a further year (had it been mobile) it could have reached a spot that's essentially a fossilized hydrothermal vent with volcanic terrain adjacent.  Even after several years Spirit apparently only scratched the potential science within Gusev.

Star One:
Just a heads up that I did add a news story from AW in the existing thread this week about sample preservation strategies, unfortunately it requires registration to read in full.

Anyway that's just the explanation for posting this again.

http://m.aviationweek.com/space/mars-2020-mulls-sample-preservation-strategies

Star One:
Elachi Touts Helicopter Scout for Mars Sample-Caching Rover


--- Quote ---WASHINGTON — The outgoing director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Nov. 19 floated the idea of sending a small scout helicopter to the red planet along with the Mars 2020 sample caching rover headed there in 2020.

“It’s not approved for that mission yet, but we are doing the technology which will enable us to actually have a drone which will fly around the rover, survey the area in front of it and enable the rover to basically drive more efficiently,” JPL Director Charles Elachi said after a luncheon speech on Capitol Hill hosted by the Space Transportation Association. “So you’ll have a drone taking the survey and sending the data to the rover and having the rover avoid hazards.”

JPL has been touting its Mars Helicopter since January but has not before linked it to any particular mission. The drone would be solar powered and capable of flying for two to three minutes a day, according to a video JPL uploaded to youtube earlier this year.

A scouting drone could help the Mars 2020 rover avoid the sort of mission-ending misstep that got the smaller Spirit rover — the twin of the still-operational Opportunity rover — stuck in martian sand in 2009.
--- End quote ---

http://spacenews.com/elachi-touts-helicopter-scout-for-mars-sample-caching-rover/

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