4 Rovers Set for 2020 Mars Missions
For many of us, the imminent arrival of 2020 meant one thing and one thing only: getting to fly around in inner city space in our very own flying car. Complete with UFO-style sunroof of course. This was what had been promised to us by the animated sitcom The Jetsons back in the 1960s and then again when the popular show made a comeback to Saturday-morning entertainment slots in the 1980s.
We may not have been able to buckle up in the promises of our youth on New Years Day, but what 2020 may very well realistically bring is travel of a different kind as the race for putting domestically travelling (everyday) man into space finally appears ready to actually materialise.
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Exploring Mars Like Never Before
But even if Sir Richard Branson’s firm intentions of welcoming the first commercial space travellers onboard a Virgin Galactic space rocket don’t at long last come to pass this year, we still have Mars to be getting all excited about. As our quest for discovering life on the Red Planet continues, a total of four robotic explorers are scheduled to leave home this year as each makes its way towards the surface and orbit of Mars.
Every two years, Mars and Earth come in close proximity round the bend, so to speak, as they continue to orbit the Sun. This is basically prime time for launching anything destined for Mars as the distance between the two shrinks by considerable space miles.
Meet Mars 2020
Of the robotic rovers getting ready to take a trip to Mars over the course of the coming months, America’s Mars 2020 rover is most probably most significant in terms of gathering information about space exploration and the possibility of a second home for humankind.
Mars 2020 does bear a number of resemblances to Curiosity. The latter has been riding around the Red Planet since 2012 and as to date gathered a slew of valuable information. Mars 2020 is basically a generic pre-launch description and the rover will be assigned a new name before it leaves out atmosphere later this year. Names of US rovers are typically assigned by way of a competition – which has in the past resulted in names like Curiosity and Opportunity.
What makes Mars 2020 exceptionally exciting in terms of us getting to see what is out there is the fact that it will have a space exploration helicopter (the first of its kind) strapped onto its under-belly. The helicopter will be flying about and capturing aerial images as it does, which should make for some interesting and never-before-seen skyward viewing material.