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NASA announces science payload for Mars 2020 rover
Posted: Fri, Aug 1, 2014, 8:36 AM ET (1236 GMT)
Mars 2020 rover blueprint (NASA/JPL) NASA revealed on Thursday the scientific instruments it plans to include on a 2020 Mars rover mission that will also collect samples for later return to Earth. NASA selected seven scientific payloads, including cameras, spectrometers, and a ground-penetrating radar. The rover also features an experiment to produce oxygen from carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere, a test of in situ resource utilization (ISRU) technologies needed for future human missions. In addition to those instruments, Mars 2020 will collect and cache Mars soil samples for return to Earth on a future mission. The selected payloads weigh and cost less than those on Curiosity, in part to accommodate the sample cache. Mars 2020 is other closely based on Curiosity, although NASA officials said they will make some tweaks to the rover's design, including improving the rover's wheels to address damage that Curiosity's wheels have suffered.
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