The Mars 2020 Rover is seen in the spacecraft assembly area during a media tour in Pasadena. Robyn Beck/AFP
The Mars 2020 rover, which sets off for the Red Planet next year, will not only search for traces of ancient life, but pave the way for future human missions, NASA scientists said on Friday as they unveiled the vehicle.
The rover has been constructed in a large, sterile room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, near Los Angeles, where its driving equipment was given its first successful test last week.
Shown to invited journalists on Friday, it is scheduled to leave Earth in July 2020 from Florida's Cape Canaveral, becoming the fifth US rover to land on Mars seven months later in February.
"It's designed to seek the signs of life, so we're carrying a number of different instruments that will help us understand the geological and chemical context on the surface of Mars," deputy mission leader Matt Wallace told the media.
Among the devices on board the rover are 23 cameras, two "ears" that will allow it to listen to Martian winds, and lasers used for chemical analysis.
Approximately the size of a car, the rover is equipped with six wheels like its predecessor Curiosity, allowing it to traverse rocky terrain.
Speed is not a priority for the vehicle, which only has to cover around 200 yards per Martian day — approximately the same as a day on Earth.
Fueled by a miniature nuclear reactor, Mars 2020 has seven-foot-long articulated arms and a drill to crack open rock samples in locations scientists identify as potentially suitable for life.
NASA have made it clear they want astronauts back on the Moon in 2024, and now, they are zeroing in on the Red Planet -- the US space agency confirmed that it wants humans to reach Mars by 2033.
Just as much as NASA loves space and all things that come with it, it’s now official that space too loves it back.
Mars is moderately active from a seismic standpoint, more than the moon but less than Earth.
In a statement, it mentioned that 793 people have recovered and 1 person passed away in the last 24 hours.
With less than four weeks left until the United Kingdom finally exits the EU’s orbit on Dec.31, both sides are calling on the other to compromise over fishing, state aid and how to resolve any future disputes.
Authorities said mosques in each emirate would open for Friday prayers provided they abide by the COVID-19 precautionary protocols.
The United States on Thursday added China’s top chipmaker, SMIC, and oil giant CNOOC to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies, a move likely to escalate tensions with Beijing before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.