This is not a blog about Matt Damon and the movie The Martian. It’s actually about the real Martians and the trip to Mars 2020. Now let’s answer some questions about the mission and talk about some fun facts about the trip.
1. What’s the name of the project?
Some people call it Mars 2020, but often the used name of the mission is ‘The Mars 2020 rover mission’
2. Who leads the project?
Well, officially NASA’S Mars Exploration Program leads this mission, but technically robots are the ones exploring the Red Planet. Seriously a great team -who lead successful space missions- is leading this project. The Mars 2020 design is based on NASA’s successful Mars Science Laboratory mission architecture, including its Curiosity rover and proven landing system.
3. Why Mars 2020 rover?
For sure you might be wandering what are these people doing?! What are they looking for on Mars, well guess what they are not sure what they are looking for too! Which opens a set of opportunities and probabilities. Is exploring a different planet worth the money, the effort and the complicated preparations? The answer is definitely yes! The mission to Mars not only seeks signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past, but also searches for signs of past microbial life. The mission also provides opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars. These include testing a method for producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, identifying other resources (such as subsurface water), improving landing techniques, and characterizing weather, dust, and other potential environmental conditions that could affect future astronauts living and working on Mars.
4. When is the mission?
The mission is timed for a launch opportunity in July/August 2020 when Earth and Mars are in good positions relative to each other for landing on Mars. That is, it takes less power to travel to Mars at this time, compared to other times when Earth and Mars are in different positions in their orbits. To keep mission costs and risks as low as possible.
5. We came in peace!
Mars 2020 would potentially be a remarkable success when we provide a future mission to return the samples of unique rocks to Earth, but what if we transmit bacteria to the planet and we accidentally end the life on Mars?! What if instead we end up killing entire species?
If you want to join the trip and be a Martian, I guess you better start getting ready especially that it’s a one-way trip.
Watch this video to know more about the journey to Mars 2020: