MUMBAI (TIP): The Mars 2020 rover will play a key role in a human mission to the Red Planet, apart from searching for signs of past life, says Nasa’s “Mars 2020 Science Definition Final Report.” With a 699 Martian days’ life span, the mission, which will incorporate a number of technologies from the Curiosity flight, is slated for lift-off either in July or August 2020 and will reach Mars in January or March 2012.

The launch vehicle will belong to the Atlas V class. The 154-page report dated July 1, 2013 but released early on Wednesday states that the mission will also have a major part in planning a future sample return mission. Calling it as a worthy successor to Curiosity , the report says that “for the first time, humanity would seek to collect samples with possible evidence of past Martian life for analysis on earth, where cutting edge techniques available now, as well as awaiting future development could be applied to the search.’

‘ The four primary objectives of the mission: Explore an astrobiologically relevant ancient environment on Mars to decipher its geological processes and history. Assess the biosignature preservation potential within the selected geological environment and search for potential biosignatures. Demonstrate significant technical progress towards the future return of scientifically selected , welldocumented samples to earth. Provide an opportunity for human exploration compatible with the science payload and within the mission’s payload capacity.

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Volume 10 Issue 42 | New York | Oct 28

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