The Mars 2020 mission will be based on the design of the highly successful Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, Curiosity, which landed in 2011. The new rover will carry more sophisticated, upgraded hardware and new instruments to conduct geological assessments of the rover’s landing site, determine the potential habitability of the environment, and directly search for signs of ancient Martian life.
Scientists will use the Mars 2020 rover to identify and select a collection of rock and soil samples that will be stored for potential return to Earth by a future mission. In addition, the Mars 2020 mission will help advance our knowledge of how future human explorer could use natural resources available on the surface of Mars – an ability to live off the Martian land would transform future exploration of the planet.
JPL Robotics engineers are contributing to this project in a number of areas, similar to other Mars Rover Projects (Pathfinder, MER, MSL). Specific areas of importance are briefly described below.
Sampling and Caching Subsystem (SCS)
JPL Robotics is providing technical leadership in multiple areas of SCS, including SCS management, Robotic Arm algorithms and software, and the SCS testbed.
Surface System Software and Rover Navigation
Just like MSL, JPL Robotics will continue to provide technical leadership for the Mars 2020 Rover’s surface system flight software development and rover navigation.
RSVP for Mars 2020
The Robot Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP) for the Mars 2020 mission will be built upon the RSVP software developed for MSL.
For more details on all aspects of the Mars 2020 mission, visit the Mars 2020 Project website.